CHICAGO (CBS) — Medical personnel in Chicago said they are using “an abundance of caution” for two patients being evaluated for Ebola, even though neither has been diagnosed with the disease, after each of them became sick on separate flights from Liberia to O’Hare International Airport.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports neither patient – a girl and an adult who are not related – has a fever, and neither has been tested for Ebola, but both are being monitored at local hospitals.
Both patients showed improvement Wednesday, according to the city health officials and are no longer in isolation.
The girl began vomiting after boarding a flight from Liberia to Chicago, and was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital after arriving in Chicago, to undergo stringent infection control protocols. The girl later was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago, where she was in isolation Wednesday morning. Her family has shown no signs of Ebola, but was under quarantine until an evaluation has been completed.
The girl had no fever, and no known risk of exposure to Ebola. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but a test for Ebola was done out of an abundance of caution.
Dr. Stephen Weber, chief medical officer at University of Chicago Medicine, said the rigorous protocols were necessary, even though the chances are slim the girl has contracted Ebola.
“It’s important to stress that, at this time, we don’t have a diagnosis of Ebola for this patient. We are being very cautious,” he said. “It may turn out to be very unlikely that that’s what’s affecting this patient.”
In the other case, an adult passenger traveling alone from Liberia reported nausea and diarrhea, but had a normal temperature. That person was being monitored at Rush University Medical Center, but was not tested for Ebola. The patient was diagnosed with typhoid fever in August.
Even though neither patient has been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors and nurses treating them have been wearing appropriate protective gear, going above and beyond CDC recommendations.
“I think abundance of caution is exactly the right words,” Weber said. “Again, the experience of the last couple of weeks have shown that this is a complicated, potentially severe disease. So even the possibility of it – even when it’s remote – warrants specific attention, and great care by expert providers.”