Ebola Scare Hits Boston
UPDATE: 11:20 p.m.
The Boston Public Health Commission has released a statement regarding United Emirates Flight #237. At this time, this most recent scare is just that—a scare. Patients “do not meet criteria for infections of public health concern.” Below, the statement in full:
After discussions with our partner hospitals Boston Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, the Boston Public Health Commission’s Infectious Disease Bureau has determined that the patients who arrived on United Emirates Flight #237 at Logan International Airport do not meet the criteria for any infections of public health concern, including Ebola, meningococcal infection, or MERS.
As always, our priority is the safety and health of the Boston community. We consistently work through a number of channels to ensure that our network of care providers communicate and are effectively prepared to treat and control the spread of any infectious disease in our City.
UPDATE: 5:30 p.m.
The Globe is reporting that United Arab Emirates flight #237 is on the ground at Logan and has been boarded by officials in full hazmat suits. Five people on the plane reported “flu-like symptoms” but none had traveled to West Africa recently.
At this time, the measure is precautionary only.
In the last few days, there have been a number of Ebola scares in the U.S. At the Las Vegas Airport Friday, a plane was quarantined when passenger reported feeling ill. At Los Angeles International Airport Sunday, another passenger, who reportedly had just visited West Africa, was feeling ill with “flu-like symptoms.” And Sunday, in Boston, a patient with “Ebola-like symptoms” visited Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Braintree. The patient was evaluated and taken by ambulance to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) where he was kept in isolation.
Fortunately, all of the scares have been false alarms.
“Out of an abundance of caution we immediately notified authorities and the patient was securely removed from the building and put into an ambulance,” said Benjamin Kruskal, the chief of infectious disease for Harvard Vanguard, in a written statement.
Officials at BIDMC said Sunday evening that the patient, who recently returned from Liberia and was complaining of headache and muscle aches, does not appear to have the deadly virus.
“This patient does not appear to meet CDC criteria to be considered someone at high risk for Ebola and the likelihood of Ebola Virus Disease is extremely low,” the hospital said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
The Boston Public Health Commission released a statement Sunday that says:
After discussions with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Boston Public Health Commission and its partners have determined that the patient being evaluated at BIDMC does not meet criteria to be considered someone at high risk for Ebola. The BPHC will continue to monitor this situation.
Through our network of hospitals, community health centers, and pre-hospital care providers, we’ve established a citywide state of preparedness. Our priority is the safety and health of the Boston community. We are working through a number of channels to ensure that our network of care providers are communicating and are effectively prepared to treat and control the spread of Ebola, or any infectious disease, in our City.
This City of Boston wants its residents to know that public health officials, hospitals, EMS, and other agencies “have prepared for and practiced what to do in response to a wide variety of emergencies, including infectious disease outbreaks.”
For more information about the Ebola virus and the city’s efforts to be prepared, visit bphc.org/ebola.