NEW YORK CITY — An American man who fell ill after traveling to Mali has tested negative for Ebola after being taken to a hospital in New York City, but he will remain in isolation until additional tests can definitely rule out the deadly virus, health officials said Thursday.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) said the man, who recently traveled back to the United States from Mali, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital earlier on Thursday. It said the patient was put in isolation and an Ebola test was ordered due to the man’s symptoms and his recent travel to Mali, where several people have died of Ebola.
“The test result is negative. Because in early Ebola Virus Disease initial tests may be negative, the patient will have further Ebola tests in the coming days to confirm today’s negative result,” HHC said in an emailed statement late on Thursday, adding that the patient remains in isolation until Ebola can be fully discounted.
The United States has been effectively free of Ebola since November 10 when American doctor Craig Spencer was declared free of the virus. Spencer fell ill in New York City after being in West Africa, where he had treated Ebola victims as part of a Doctors Without Borders team.
The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is believed to have started in Guinea in December 2013 but was not detected until March, after which it spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Mali. The outbreak features the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus, which is considered to be the most aggressive and deadly strain, having killed up to 9 out of 10 infected in previous outbreaks.
As of November 16, at least 15,145 people have been infected with Ebola since the outbreak began, including 5,420 people who have died of the disease, according to health authorities in the countries involved. Liberia has been the worst hit country with at least 7,069 cases including 2,964 deaths, but authorities believe the actual figures are far higher.