Ebola: Quarantined Nurse Leaves Hospital
By Shaun Gibson : @ShaunyNews
A nurse who protested against being quarantined at a New Jersey hospital has been discharged. Kaci Hickox, who treated Ebola patients in West Africa but does not have any symptoms of the virus, threatened to sue over being kept in isolation. She was allowed to leave hospital on Monday and got into a private car bound for her home in Maine. Once there, it will be up to local health officials to decide how to monitor her health for the duration of the incubation period, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said. The Doctors Without Borders worker had no symptoms when she arrived in Newark on Friday, but developed a fever that prompted putting her in isolation, the New Jersey Department of Health said in a statement.
Ms Hickox blasted officials over the decision, and her lawyer threatened a lawsuit, saying the quarantine violated her constitutional rights. But legal action seemed unlikely after Mr Christie announced she would be released. “She was quietly happy,” said lawyer Steven Hyman, who said he had spoken to the nurse by telephone. “She wants this part of her ordeal to be over. She wants to return to her life.” Three states – New York, New Jersey and Illinois – introduced the mandatory 21-day quarantine period for anyone who has been involved in treating Ebola patients in West Africa.
Other states, including Maryland, Virginia and Georgia, are also considering whether to impose the same regime. On Monday, the Pentagon announced that US troops returning from missions in Ebola-stricken West Africa are being placed in isolation for 21 days before returning home. “Out of an abundance of caution, the Army directed a small number of personnel, about a dozen, that recently returned to Italy, to be monitored in a separate location at their home station of Vicenza,” spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said. None of the soldiers have exhibited symptoms of the virus, Col Warren added.
Back in the US, the quarantine policies have come under criticism that they may discourage healthcare workers from travelling to West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday recommended voluntary home quarantines for health workers returning from the region. The agency issued new guidelines that included four risk categories for those returning from West Africa. Under mounting pressure, the governors of New York and New Jersey said on Sunday evening that quarantined medical workers who did not show symptoms could be allowed to remain at home. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said: “We’re doing everything possible. Some people say we’re being too cautious – I’ll take that criticism.” Under the protocols, New York state will also pay compensation if quarantined workers are not paid by a volunteer organisation. The US quarantines followed the positive diagnosis of doctor Craig Spencer, who fell ill days after returning to his New York City home from treating Ebola patients in Guinea. He rode the subway and went bowling the night before he was admitted to hospital.
Ebola: New York Boy, 5, Tests Negative
A five-year-old boy who was under observation at a New York hospital for possible Ebola symptoms has tested negative for the deadly virus. The youngster had returned to the US from Guinea at the weekend and had a low-grade fever, according to City Health Commissioner Dr Mary Travis. The child has “travelled to one of the three affected countries and has a fever, and that’s what triggers an assessment,” Dr Travis said. The New York Post reported that the boy had been vomiting and was transported from his home in the Bronx by emergency medical workers. He is being kept in isolation at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, and will remain there “out of an abundance of caution” until subsequent tests also come back negative, said the city’s Department of Health and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation in a joint statement.