Officials at Mercy Jefferson Hospital in Crystal City, Missouri, have confirmed that a patient who has recently returned from West Africa and who is showing symptoms of the Ebola virus is being treated there, KSDK (St. Louis) is reporting.
The unnamed female patient came down with a fever earlier this morning and went to the hospital, about 35 miles south of St. Louis, for treatment. Since she has recently been in West Africa, officials made the decision to treat her in an isolation unit apart from the main hospital. Hospital spokesperson John Winkelman says the patient never entered the main hospital and has not been in contact with any other patients.
Further, Winkelman says that the staff at his hospital are highly trained in Ebola protocols and they are currently using protective gear that exceeds even Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards.
“The patient is considered low risk for Ebola, but we are taking all appropriate safety precautions, using protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As established in our Ebola planning for this region, the patient was admitted directly to an isolation unit in an off-site surgical center near Mercy Hospital Jefferson and never entered the main hospital building, including the ER. There was zero contact with other patients. The patient is being cared for by highly trained co-workers who are wearing personal protective equipment exceeding the CDC recommended guidelines and who are caring for no other patients.”
The Missouri Times reports that samples of the patient’s blood are being sent to a lab in Missouri’s capital, Jefferson City, for further testing.
If confirmed, this would be the first known Ebola case in Missouri. While other places in the U.S. have reported confirmed cases of patients with Ebola, the virus has been contained and has not exploded into the devastating outbreak that is currently taking place in West Africa. According to the Boston Globe, there have been ten confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States, and two Ebola-related deaths. By comparison, the Ebola virus has claimed over 7,000 lives in Africa as of this post.
Prior to today, the most recent confirmed case of Ebola in the U.S. was in New York City, according to this Inquisitr report. A physician contracted the disease while working in West Africa. However, he survived and has been declared Ebola-free.
Test results of the Missouri Ebola patient’s blood are expected later this evening.
[Image courtesy of KSDK]