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NYC patient is being tested for Ebola virus

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NEW YORK (AP) — A man who visited West Africa last month and is at a New York City hospital being tested for possible Ebola likely doesn't have it.

A doctor at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan says "odds are" it's not Ebola. Dr. Jeremy Boal says he hopes for a definitive answer in the next day or two.

The hospital says the patient had a high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms when he went in Monday. It placed him in isolation.

The Ebola virus causes a hemorrhagic fever that has sickened more than 1,600 people, killing nearly 900 mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least three Americans have been tested in the U.S and all tested negative.

Below are 11 facts you need to know about the Ebola virus (according to the WHO):

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent.
  • EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rain forests.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • There are other diseases that should be ruled before a diagnosis of EVD can be made include: malaria, typhoid fever, shigellosis, cholera, leptospirosis, plague, rickettsiosis, relapsing fever, meningitis, hepatitus and other viral haemorrhagic fevers.
  • EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
  • People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. Ebola virus was isolated from semen 61 days after onset of illness in a man who was infected in a laboratory.
  • The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.
  • Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. Patients are frequently dehydrated and require oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes or intravenous fluids.
  • No licensed vaccine for EVD is available. Several vaccines are being tested, but none are available for clinical use.
  • In Africa, fruit bats, particularly species of the genera Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti and Myonycteris torquata, are considered possible natural hosts for Ebola virus.

For more information on the deadly Ebola virus, visit the WHO website.