- Associated Press - Sunday, August 10, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - A 27-year-old man who tested negative for the deadly Ebola virus said the experience of being quarantined at a New York City hospital until he was medically cleared was “surreal.”

Eric Silverman told the Daily News (http://nydn.us/1kuICAG ) for Sunday’s editions: “Even my friends didn’t believe me when I told them I was the mystery patient. They thought I was joking.”

Silverman, who is starting graduate school at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, said he had been in Sierra Leone for four months on agricultural and construction projects, and had come home in mid-July. He said he didn’t know it at the time, but had been in a part of the country where Ebola cases had been found.

A couple of weeks later, he came down with a high fever. His family doctor told him to get to the hospital, and notified medical officials of his recent travels in Africa.

Silverman said he told his mother as they went to the hospital, “Don’t mention the ‘E-word’ in the cab, or else we’re never going to make it up there.”

He was placed in isolation at Mount Sinai Health System.

“Only when I woke up on Monday (Aug. 4) and they wouldn’t let me out of the room, I knew something was wrong,” Silverman said. “I saw people wearing these spacesuits and I realized they couldn’t rule out Ebola.”

Doctors didn’t think it was likely he had Ebola, but tested him and kept him quarantined as a precaution until the test results came back showing he didn’t have it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said six people in the United States have been tested for Ebola since the West African outbreak erupted this year and all results were negative.

The Ebola virus causes a hemorrhagic fever that has killed more than 900 people, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. It’s spread through direct contact with bodily fluids.

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Information from: Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com