Possible Ebola patient admitted to Boston hospital for evaluation

Boston hospital admits patient for evaluation of possible Ebola symptoms

A person who was being monitored for symptoms of Ebola by the Boston Public Health Commission was hospitalized for evaluation Tuesday, officials said.

The individual was taken to Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital about 2 p.m., hospital spokesman Noah Brown told the Los Angeles Times. The patient has a fever, Brown said, but has not been confirmed to have Ebola.

Symptoms of the deadly virus can include fever, severe headache, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Lab testing is required to confirm the diagnosis. 

Brown said he had no other information about the patient or where he or she had traveled. Most Ebola cases in the current outbreak have been in West Africa, primarily Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. 

The virus is transmitted by close contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, such as blood or vomit. 

The hospital announced the patient's admission in a statement on its website.

"As you know, the MGH has spent the past several months preparing in the event we should have a patient with suspected Ebola come to the hospital," the statement said. "The individual is now in a specially prepared area within the hospital. Diagnostic testing is under way. Again, a diagnosis of Ebola has not been confirmed." 

The hospital said it was following guidelines "recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a precaution."  

The World Health Organization estimates there have been nearly 16,000 cases and almost 5,700 deaths since the outbreak began last December.

Ten people have been treated for Ebola in the U.S. Eight have recovered and two have died. 

Earlier Tuesday, the CDC announced that 35 hospitals around the country were staffed and equipped to treat Ebola patients. Massachusetts General is not among them.

About 1,400 people in 44 states who have returned from affected African countries in the last 21 days are being actively monitored for the disease, CDC spokesman Jason McDonald said.

Those under active monitoring have to report their temperatures and any symptoms consistent with Ebola to state or local health officials on a daily basis.

According to the CDC, a suspected Ebola case involves fever and exposure within the previous 21 days, or fever and at least three associated symptoms, or just “inexplicable” bleeding.

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