Man in NYC Ebola Scare: Experience ‘Surreal’

NEW YORK (AP) -

A 27-year-old man who tested negative for the deadly Ebola virus said the experience of being quarantined at a Manhattan hospital until he was medically cleared was “surreal.”

“Even my friends didn’t believe me when I told them I was the mystery patient,” Eric Silverman told the Daily News. “They thought I was joking.”

Silverman, who is starting graduate school at Columbia University, said he had been in Sierra Leone for four months on agricultural and construction projects, and had come home in mid-July. He said he didn’t know it at the time, but had been in a part of the country where Ebola cases had been found.

A couple of weeks later, he came down with a high fever. His family doctor told him to get to the hospital, and notified medical officials of his travels in Africa.

Silverman said he told his mother as they went to the hospital, “Don’t mention the ‘E-word’ in the cab, or else we’re never going to make it up there.”

He was placed in isolation at Mount Sinai Health System.

“Only when I woke up on Monday and they wouldn’t let me out of the room, I knew something was wrong,” Silverman said. “I saw people wearing these spacesuits and I realized they couldn’t rule out Ebola.”

Doctors thought it unlikely he had Ebola, but kept him quarantined until results showed he didn’t have it.