A person has arrived at a US hospital with possible Ebola symptoms, in Birmingham, Alabama.
The patient is being treated at UAB Hospital and is being “isolated” as a precautionary measure.
Battalion Chief Buddy Wilks said his crews were called to the scene for a general illness earlier Tuesday. He said once they assessed the patient’s symptoms and determined the patient had traveled to West Africa, they contacted UAB Hospital and received medical direction. The patient was then transported.
Wilks said six firefighters came in contact with the patient and were quarantined to go through decontamination procedures.
He said there were two family members of the patient in the house as well. Police officers will remain on scene to make sure the family is OK and to keep them isolated in the residence while officials monitor their health.
Residents on the block said they were being told to stay in their homes. Firefighters on scene said this was to help keep the area clear for first responders to work.
Around 10:32 p.m., reporter Christy Hutchings said authorities were preparing to reopen the block on 17th Street Southwest.
Police say the patient came traveled from West Africa to Birmingham. He has been in Birmingham for several days. UAB Hospital’s ER was closed temporarily as they received the patient. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is at UAB. Wilks said health officials are currently running tests to determine what illness this patient may be suffering from.
The Jefferson County Department of Health said the patient was being monitored already based on their travel and when they developed a fever, they contacted authorities. The JCDH has pointed out that the patient could have a number of other serious illness or disease, including malaria.
Alabama Public Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson says this patient responded appropriately by contacting authorities. He said 7-10 people are monitored just like this patient each week in Alabama.
Williamson said it’s unlikely this situation represents a danger for the community. He said UAB and authorities are acting appropriately in handling this case.
Williamson said he expects much more information in the morning that explains the patient’s fever.