A man from New Jersey, who was hospitalized after returning home from Africa showing Ebola-like symptoms and fever, was initially suspected to have the deadly disease.
It turned out, however, that the 66-year-old man was not infected by the lethal virus that has killed thousands globally particularly in West Africa and was actually suffering from malaria, a mosquito-borne disease.
The man suffered from fever and started to vomit at a Wawa convenience store in Lakewood, Ocean County on Tuesday prompting somebody to contact 911. Police where then dispatched to the address and after arriving around 9:20 p.m., they found the man outside of his car having Ebola-like symptoms.
A hazardous material response team also arrived at the scene to decontaminate the man's car but the team members backed off after they found some household items inside the car that are often associated with explosives.
After members of the New Jersey State Police Bomb Squad determined that the car is safe, the Haz-Mat team decontaminated the vehicle, which was later removed from the area.
The patient, whose identity was not released, was then brought to the Monmouth Medical Center, where he was quarantined until he could go through medical testing.
Detective Sgt. Greg Staffordsmith said that the man went to Africa albeit he only visited Nigeria, which only has relatively few cases of the hemorrhagic fever. Testing later confirmed that the man suffers from malaria, a disease attributed to mosquitoes. By Wednesday, hospital officials said that the man is already doing well and is no longer in isolation.
Symptoms of Ebola can take up to 21 days to appear after a person gets infected by the lethal virus. The disease, which is spread through contact with the body fluids of an infected person, has so far struck 27,551 individuals worldwide and killed 11,236. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea were the most badly hit by the epidemic.
The suspected Ebola case in New Jersey came just a day after a report described the World Health Organization as being unfit when it comes to dealing with global health emergencies such as in the case of the Ebola outbreak.
"The panel considers that WHO does not currently possess the capacity or organisational culture to deliver a full emergency public health response," the report reads. "The organisation's capacity for emergency preparedness and response must be strengthened and properly resourced at headquarters, regional and country levels."
Photo: Radio Okapi | Flickr