Patient Isolated over Ebola Fears in Boston

Person suffering Ebola symptoms who recently was in an infected area put in isolation and given tests; possibly first Massachusetts case.

Ari Yashar ,

Ebola health worker (file)
Ebola health worker (file)

A patient suspected of possibly having contracted Ebola was put into isolation at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Tuesday for tests, and if found to be infected would be the first Ebola case in the state.

The patient had been under investigation after having traveled to an area infected with Ebola during the ongoing epidemic centered in western Africa, and after showing symptoms similar to the lethal virus was hospitalized, reports The Boston Globe.

Dr. Paul Biddinger, director of emergency preparedness at the hospital, said the patient remains in stable condition and emphasized the symptoms mirror other diseases, "many of which are more likely than Ebola."

Initial Ebola test results could come in as early as overnight according to Biddinger, adding other tests will take longer.

"The challenge is that in order to figure out what might be the most likely diagnosis for a patient, you have to have an interaction with them," Biddinger said. "When Ebola is a possibility, we start with the highest level of personal protection."

Massachusetts General Hospital has never admitted a possible Ebola patient before, although officials noted other suspected cases in the state had been quickly ruled out. 

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) released a statement reading: "there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Massachusetts. Over the past several months, DPH has worked with area hospitals on investigations of Ebola, and they have all been quickly ruled out. DPH will only be reporting confirmed cases."

In New York, Dr. Craig Spencer became the first Ebola patient in October as he developed the disease after having been in Guinea to treat patients. Last month he was declared free of the disease, which has shown a 70% mortality rate, higher than its traditional rate of 50%.

Research has shown that the cases of Ebola in the US, which began with a Liberian man who visited Dallas in September and later died, would be effectively stopped if the US imposed a travel ban on the effected regions - a ban US President Barack Obama has vigorously opposed.