New York 5-year-old tested negative for Ebola; New Jersey releases nurse

From the CDC: the Ebola Virus. (AP Photo/CDC, File)
From the CDC: the Ebola Virus. (AP Photo/CDC, File) AP

An unidentified minor who recently arrived in the United States from West Africa and was placed in isolation over concerns that he might have contracted Ebola tested negative for the virus Monday, New York City health officials said.

“Out of an abundance of caution, further negative Ebola tests are required on subsequent days to ensure that the patient is cleared,” according to a statement from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “The patient will also be tested for common respiratory viruses. The patient will remain in isolation until all test results have returned.”

Meanwhile, a nurse who was held in mandatory quarantine in New Jersey after returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone was discharged today. Kaci Hickox tested negative for Ebola, but she was detained in isolation at University Hospital in Newark. She has been free of symptoms for 24 hours, the health department said.

The New York 5-year-old, according to media reports, arrived in the United States on Saturday. He was transported from his Bronx home to the hospital Sunday night by a Hazardous Material Tactical Unit of the city fire department, whose members wore personal protective equipment.

The child developed a fever at 7 a.m. this morning, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. After consulting with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors tested him for the Ebola virus based on his travel history and symptoms, according to the health department. Preliminary test results are expected in the next 12 hours.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier Monday that the child’s mother is being allowed to stay with him while he’s being hospitalized.

The heath department has begun tracing the boy’s personal contacts to identify those who may be at risk for possible Ebola infection. New York City’s first Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, is also in isolation at Bellevue Hospital, which is one of eight facilities in the state specially designated to treat Ebola cases. Spencer contracted the virus while treating Ebola patients in Guinea for the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders.

In New Jersey, Hickox, a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, has complained of her treatment by state officials and asked to return to Maine, her home state. She will be taken there "via a private carrier not via mass transit or commercial aircraft," the New Jersey Department of Health said in the statement.

"She will remain subject to New Jersey's mandatory quarantine order while in New Jersey," according to the statement." Health officials in Maine have been notified of her arrangements and will make a determination under their own laws on her treatment when she arrives."

The department said she had initially had no symptoms, but later developed a fever. She was placed in isolation in a tented area of the hospital where doctors monitored her continuously.

Hickox hired a civil rights lawyer to challenge her forcible quarantine.

New York, New Jersey and Illinois have imposed mandatory quarantines for anyone arriving in their states who may have had contact with Ebola patients in the West African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where the epidemic is centered.