Yale-New Haven Hospital Patient In Isolation With Ebola-Like Symptoms

Yale-New Haven HospitalCourant – by Kelly Glista

W HAVEN — Officials say Yale-New Haven Hospital expects to receive test results in the next 24 hours on a patient who recently traveled to Liberia and was admitted Wednesday night with a fever.

The patient is one of two Yale University students who returned home last week after spending a month in Liberia researching the Ebola outbreak, according to the mayor’s office.  

A statement released by the hospital Thursday morning states, “Yale-New Haven Hospital admitted a patient late Wednesday night for evaluation of Ebola-like symptoms. We have not confirmed or ruled-out any diagnosis at this point.”

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, hospital officials said the patient initially contacted a primary care physician after experiencing a fever. The physician and the hospital arranged for the patient to be transported to the hospital’s Emergency Department Wednesday evening.

The patient is in “good and stable condition,” hospital officials said.

A HazMat team responded to the hospital late Wednesday night and the patient was placed in isolation, which is part of the hospital’s standard protocol.

“We don’t know what we have,” a hospital spokesman said early Thursday morning.

Samples from the patient have been sent to the CDC, but officials said Thursday morning that they were encouraged by the fact that the patient’s fever subsided after being admitted.

The hospital said it is working with city, state and federal health officials.

When they returned from Liberia, the students initially planned to sequester themselves for 21 days. Paul D. Cleary, dean of Yale University’s School of Public Health, said Monday in a letter that “after carefully considering the matter, a university-wide team of physicians, epidemiologists and senior administrators concluded that a 21-day sequestration was unnecessary.”

The decision not to sequester the students was made in coordination with the CDC, Yale Medical School Dean Robert Alpern said at the press conference.

In a letter sent to the university community Thursday morning, President Peter Salovey said, “There is no indication at this time that the student has contracted the Ebola virus.”

Yale-New Haven Patient Being Treated For Ebola-Like Symptoms
A patient was admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital with Ebola-like symptoms.
“I understand that this situation may be worrying to some of you, to your families and friends, and to members of the Yale and New Haven communities,” Salovey said. “The health and safety of our interconnected communities is always our highest priority.”

The students reported that they were not in contact with Ebola patients or caregivers in Liberia and have closely monitored their own health since they returned, he said.

The mayor’s office said Thursday that the second student is also being monitored. Hospital officials said that anyone who came in contact with the students will be notified.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and officials from the state Department of Public Health are scheduled to hold a briefing at 2 p.m.

“I’m not sure it’s Ebola,” Malloy said. “If it is, we’ll handle it. If it isn’t, I think it was a great test run for a particular hospital – and maybe we need to have those kind of tests done at all of our hospitals.”

Malloy declined to comment further on the details of the Yale case until he heard the results of the test and said he would answer more questions at the press conference, after he had been briefed on the case. The press conference was scheduled before the student was admitted to the hospital Wednesday night. Malloy said that at the press conference he would announce additional steps his office planned to take to address the Ebola threat.

The governor said his office “may know” the results on the test prior to the 2 p.m. appearance.

“As soon as we know whether it is Ebola or not, we’re going to get that out,” Malloy said, promising to put out a release as soon as he learned the results of the test.

Department of Public Health spokesman Bill Gerrish said that the department is aware of the situation and has been in “close communication” with the hospital and city officials.

Recent cases of Ebola in the United States have increased concern over the potential spread of the disease. Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, and two of the nurses who treated him have since been diagnosed with the disease.

Duncan contracted the disease in West Africa, where it has killed more than 4,400 people, according to the CDC.

“I feel that I should directly address the question of why our Public Health students – or why anyone affiliated with Yale – would even consider traveling to these dangerous parts of the world,” Salovey said. “As an academic institution with a research and teaching mission and a long tradition of service, it is important for our clinicians and investigators to be able to go where they can put their training and expertise to the highest, best use. Some members of our community with special expertise may be called on to engage directly in order to advance knowledge and understanding, to treat the sick, or to tend to those who are displaced or suffering. If they do, I hope we will all offer gratitude and support, just as we do now for our hospitalized student.”

Check back for updates.

Courant staff writers Jenny Wilson, Dave Altimari and Josh Kovner contributed to this report.


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