West African Boy Visiting Miami Beach Tests Negative for Ebola, Mayor Says

Miami's viral disease specialists went on high alert yesterday after a boy visiting from West Africa showed up at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach with flu-like symptoms. Was it Ebola? The boy was quickly taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where nearby streets were blocked, hazmat crews were assembled, and the hospital was locked down, the Miami Herald reports. Special Ebola-testing kits were flown in from the Department of Health.

This morning, the results from those tests came back: The boy has tested negative for Ebola, according to Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

See also: Possible Ebola Case Being Treated in Miami Hospital

The results still have to be sent to the CDC for confirmation and a full diagnosis can take up to two days, according to Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

But the case was considered unlikely to be Ebola from the get-go, and this morning's test results have eased many fears among state disease control officials.

"It's important to point out that this patient did not meet the CDC case definition for Ebola, but the test is being conducted out of an abundance of caution, and health officials expect the test to rule out Ebola," Scott told reporters yesterday.

The boy's case is the second Ebola scare in South Florida since the epidemic exploded across Africa this summer. Another patient in early September was screened for the disease at Jackson, but those results also came back negative.

In Dallas, meanwhile, where a Liberian man has become the first in the U.S. with the virus, health officials are monitoring dozens of people he had contact with and say they're confident they can contain the disease if it did spread.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink

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