Sick Child From West Africa Tests Negative for Ebola

A sick child visiting Miami Beach from West Africa tested negative for Ebola, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said Monday.

A test performed by the Department of Health came back negative for Ebola, Mayor Levine said in a statement. A specimen is being sent to the Centers for Disease Control for a final test.

The young boy fell ill with flu-like symptoms and was taken by his parents to Mount Sinai Medical Center over the weekend. In an abundance of caution, the child was transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital for testing. JMH is equipped to handle those with Ebola symptoms.

Jackson spokesman Edwin O'Dell released a statement, saying, "Jackson has been publicly forthcoming in asserting our confidence and readiness, and that we have established and tested protocols to deal with infectious diseases in general and with Ebola in specific. We will do everything to ensure safety and treatment for all of our patients. Jackson takes patient privacy serious and will not release information without consent."

Governor Scott released a statement Sunday announcing further state preparedness actions while the Department of Health works with the CDC to test the child for Ebola:

“Florida’s Department of Health is working with the federal CDC to test a patient at a local Miami hospital who was screened today for Ebola. 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. We are in close communication with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, and other local officials and health leaders in Miami-Dade.

“As we announced after our health briefing yesterday, Florida still does not have any confirmed cases of Ebola, and we hope we never do, but we are taking every preparedness step possible to keep our citizens and our visitors safe.

“We know from our experience in responding to hurricanes that we must prepare for the worst even as we hope for the best. As part of those preparedness efforts, Florida’s Department of Health today requested 30 additional Ebola testing kits from the CDC. This number of kits ensures that all of Florida’s 30 public hospitals have the ability to test patients who county health officials and the CDC believe need to be tested for Ebola. Additionally, the Department of Health requested 100 units of additional high-level personal protective equipment to ensure the state is ready to backfill any county whose medical personnel develop a future need for these supplies.

“We know Florida’s hospitals and county health offices are prepared to identify and treat patients who may have Ebola. While they are prepared on the local level, the state is requesting increased federal resources out of an abundance of caution for the unlikely event that we may have an extended response that warrants additional resources.

“In order to keep Floridians best informed about the Miami patient and any future developments, I have also asked the Division of Emergency Management to activate the state’s Joint Information Center tomorrow, Monday, at 9 a.m. Our first priority is to keep Florida’s residents and visitors safe and a big part of this effort will be to share accurate, timely information with the public."

Mayor Gimenez also released a statement Sunday saying he requested the patient be tested out of an abundance of caution.

"Miami-Dade County and my administration are committed to the health and safety of our residents and visitors," Gimenez said. "Whenever necessary, we coordinate efforts with federal, state and local health officials to ensure that the County is doing all it can to minimize health risks for our residents and visitors."

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