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The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has everyone paying close attention to their health here in the U.S. And after a bit of a scare, the New York City Health Department issued a statement Monday saying that one patient taken in for testing is unlikely to have the Ebola virus.

“After consultation with CDC and Mount Sinai, the Health Department has concluded that the patient is unlikely to have Ebola,” the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said in a statement early Monday evening. “Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and to definitively exclude Ebola.”

The male patient was checked into Mount Sinai’s emergency room early Monday morning after reporting symptoms of high fever and gastrointestinal problems. The man had also recently visited West Africa, where the Ebola virus has been reported in high numbers. The patient was placed in strict isolation and tested for the virus.

One American citizen has already been transported back to the U.S. for treatment, while another, Nancy Writebol, arrived early Tuesday morning from Liberia to receive treatment in Atlanta. Writebol contracted the disease while treating patients in Liberia with a Christian charity group. Both patients have shown improvements while being treated with an experimental serum. Hospitals in New York have also been put on high alert, with all the necessary steps being taken to protect both staff and other patients.

The worst Ebola outbreak in history continues to ravage through West Africa. The World Health Organization has reported 887 deaths as of Aug. 1 and a total of 1,603 recorded cases. Nigerian health officials also announced a second case of Ebola in Lagos, the largest city in Africa, on Monday.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or through exposure to objects – such as needles – that have been contaminated with such bodily fluids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC issued a Level 3 alert in response to the outbreak, advising people not to travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where the outbreak is concentrated.

SOURCE: Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty