A child traveling from Liberia is being tested for Ebola and remains in isolation in Chicago after he and an adult became ill on separate flights that landed Tuesday at O’Hare International Airport.
Health officials said the child has shown "clinical improvements" since arriving in Chicago Tuesday night but, as a result of dehydration and "out of an abundance of caution," the patient's doctors have decided to test the child for the Ebola virus.
Public health officials maintained Wednesday there are no confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in the Chicago area and there is no threat to the general public. Both travelers underwent medical evaluations for their symptoms but were not initially tested for Ebola.
The adult was taken to Rush University Medical Center, one of four hospitals in Chicago designated to treat Ebola patients, and was transferred out of the hospital's bio containment area on Wednesday. Officials confirmed the patient does not have Ebola and confirmed he was not tested for the virus.
The child was transferred from Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, also designated to treat Ebola patients, to the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital. A diagnosis has not been established, and the boy is in stable condition.
He remains in isolation and continues to be monitored.
A statement from the Chicago Ebola Resource Network on Tuesday said the child passenger from Liberia became ill on a flight to O’Hare and reportedly vomited one time. When the flight landed, federal authorities tested the child and found no other Ebola symptoms aside from the vomiting and said the passenger had no known risk of exposure.
The child initially was transported to Lurie Children’s Hospital for a medical evaluation. The CDC decided not to test the patient after the evaluation, and the child was transported to Comer Children's Hospital for ongoing observation in isolation.
The child’s family, though not experiencing any symptoms, will remain under quarantine until the evaluation is complete, officials said.
Later Tuesday, an adult passenger traveling along from Liberia reported nausea and diarrhea. The passenger also reported having been diagnosed with typhoid fever in August.
After being tested at O’Hare Airport, the passenger was found to have had a normal temperature and reported no known risk of Ebola exposure. The passenger was transported to the Rush University Medical Center and health officials determined the patient did not need to be tested for Ebola.
“City and hospital officials are working closely with the CDC to continue monitoring,” the release said.
The Homeland Security Department announced Tuesday that anyone coming to the United States from one of three West African countries reporting an Ebola outbreak must enter the country through one of five airports screening passengers for the deadly disease—including O’Hare Airport.
Four Chicago hospitals have agreed to take on the responsibility of caring for Ebola patients if the deadly virus emerges in the city.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office and the city's health department announced the four hospitals Monday, calling an Ebola diagnosis in the city "unlikely."
Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago Medical Center would take adult and pediatric patients, Northwestern Memorial Hospital adult patients only and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital pediatric patients.
The mayor's office says infectious disease specialists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are visiting the hospitals this week to determine their capabilities and their needs.