Man has fever but no other Ebola symptoms
Prague, Oct. 10 (ČTK) – The Czech man hospitalized in Prague with suspected Ebola virus since Thursday does not suffer from this fatal disease, which a test carried out by a laboratory in Berlin confirmed, Czech Vaccination Society head Roman Prymula told ČTK today.
After today’s meeting of the working staff of the Central Epidemiological Commission, Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček (senior government Social Democrats, ČSSD) appreciated the functioning of the system at Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital that was treating the man with suspected Ebola. He praised the hospital for having evacuated two floors of its infectious diseases pavilion to protect other patients.
“I am very glad that the laboratory tests have not confirmed the suspicion of Ebola infection. Nevertheless, the situation has tested the system very well from the initial report of a suspicion from the field to hospitalization,” Němeček told reporters.
The patient is a Czech businessman, born in 1958, who returned from Liberia’s capital of Monrovia three weeks ago. He has had fever but no other Ebola symptoms. The man started to feel health troubles 17 days after his return from Africa.
Na Bulovce hospital director Andrea Vrbovská said the man had been taken to hospital by ambulance on Thursday. The ambulance crew had protective aids. The patient was then placed in a bio box and one doctor and two nurses were looking after him, dressed in special safety suits, she added.
The hospital preventively evacuated and almost “hermetically sealed” two floors of the clinic since it was not sure then what caused the patient’s troubles, Vrbovská said.
According to the course of his illness, he probably suffers from malaria and he is being administered antimalarics and antibiotics.
“As soon as we received the tests’ negative results, the hospital returned to its regular operation,” Vrbovská said.
While waiting for the tests’ results, epidemiologists checked all people whom the patient had met, mainly his family and some other patients in hospital, chief sanitary officer Vladimir Valenta said.
None of the family members has his disease’s symptoms, he added.
The first Ebola symptoms appear after a 21-day incubation period. Then the patient can infect other people.
Němeček said he would like to check the readiness of the Biological Protection Centre of the Defense Ministry in Těchonín, east Bohemia, which can be used as a reserve in case of Ebola outbreak.
An exercise with the Těchonín center’s active participation will be discussed at the meetings of the Central Epidemiological Commission on Monday and of the National Security Council on Wednesday, Němeček noted.
In mid-September, a young man from Tanzania studying at the university in Pardubice, east Bohemia, was hospitalized with Ebola suspicion. He had fever after returning from Congo where he visited his girl-friend. However, the Ebola infection was ruled out soon.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3,879 people have died of Ebola as of October 5, out of the total of 8,033 taken ill with the disease in the three worst hit countries (Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia) since the virus started spreading in West Africa in the spring. On average, 60 percent of people infected with the virus die.
The story has been updated.