A man from west Birmingham, Alabama, is being treated at the UAB Hospital for symptoms similar to that of Ebola, officials said Tuesday. The patient reportedly said that he had recently returned from West Africa, where the virus has killed over 11,000 people and infected over 28,000 since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak last year.
Police officials were posted outside the patient’s home Tuesday to keep the family members isolated, WVTM 13, an NBC affiliate, reported. The Jefferson County Health Department said that doctors at the hospital were currently conducting tests on the patient to determine whether he was infected with the Ebola virus. Results of the patient's tests are expected by Wednesday, the report added.
"We notified the proper agencies to have this person evaluated and they're currently under evaluation right now to find out what they have," Edward Kahn, medical director of the Jefferson County Health Department, said, according to WVTM 13, adding: "Very often, they may have something else, another disease. Could be malaria or hepatitis or gastroenteritis or so many other things. So he's currently undergoing tests now."
Kahn reportedly said that he planned to inform the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the possible Ebola case in the city of Birmingham. However, he added that he did not know if any CDC officials will reach the city.
Residents in the area were reportedly told by officials to stay inside their homes after the man was taken to the hospital for treatment. Six Birmingham firefighters, who responded to the call and came in contact with the man, and two family members of the person, have been quarantined.
The World Health Organization said in July that the Ebola outbreak was not over yet and that the virus “continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern.”