- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Preliminary tests show that a man who came to the University of Kansas Hospital with Ebola-like symptoms does not have the deadly disease, but he is being treated for another, still unspecified tropical disease, hospital officials said Tuesday.

The patient will remain in isolation until the hospital receives results of a more sensitive test being performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said Dr. Lee Norman, the hospital’s chief medical officer. Those results are expected in a day or two.

“The preliminary results are very, very encouraging,” Norman said, adding that the patient was gaining strength and showing some improvement.

The man - a Kansas City, Kansas, resident in his 40s - was serving as a medic on a ship off the West African coast when he became ill about a week ago and flew back to the U.S. Norman said the ship services the oil industry, and the medic had treated a number of people with tropical diseases such as typhoid.

He went to the Kansas City, Kansas, hospital Monday morning with severe diarrhea and vomiting, weakness and dehydration and was immediately placed in an isolated room with its own air-handling system.

Norman said doctors were trying to determine the man’s precise disease.

“We’re pretty sure it’s one of the tropical illnesses we see in central and western Africa, all of which require isolation, but not the same type of isolation we would have for Ebola,” he said.

He said the man wasn’t aware of any Ebola patients on the ship, but noted he also didn’t have a way to test for it.

The man had symptoms before he left the ship, including diarrhea, high fever, general achiness, nausea, vomiting and chills, Norman said. After arriving back in the U.S. about six days ago, the man told doctors that he had gotten a little better at first before feeling “so wiped out that he decided to come in and be seen.”

On Monday, Norman said the man was being treated by 50 to 60 workers in full personal protective equipment who are were allowed to spend only two hours at a time in the patient’s room.

Norman has been trained in biological and chemical warfare and is an officer in the Kansas Army National Guard doing work on biosecurity issues.

“We have access to the things other organizations do, should experimental drugs, vaccines or antibodies be considered,” Norman said. “We wouldn’t implement those things until we have a positive test.”

Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people - nearly all of them in West Africa - in an outbreak that the World Health Organization has called “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.” U.S. health officials say they are ramping up training for medical workers who deal with the infected.

The Ebola outbreak has hit hardest in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide