Ebola in a Hawaii Patient? Much Too Early to Know, Officials Say

A magnified view of the Ebola virus particles (in red) on the surface of a cell (in blue)
A magnified view of the Ebola virus particles (in red) on the surface of a cell (in blue). (Image credit: CDC/ NIAID)

A patient in Hawaii has been put in isolation over concerns about Ebola, but it is too early know what condition is causing his symptoms, the state health officials said.

The patient is being treated at a local hospital in Honolulu.

"We are early in the investigation of a patient — very, very early — who we're investigating that might have Ebola," Dr. Melissa Viray, deputy state epidemiologist told local news channel KHON2. "It's very possible that they do and they have Ebola. I think it's also more likely that they have another condition that presents with similar symptoms."

Most symptoms of Ebola mimic other feverish diseases such as the flu and malaria, making it difficult to know what disease a patient has before performing lab tests. [Ebola Virus: 5 Things You Should Know]

Officials have not yet decided whether they will send a sample of the patient's blood to the CDC's lab in Washington, D.C., to have it tested for Ebola, Viray told the Hawaii newspaper the Star Advertiser.

The CDC said it was not currently looking at any possible cases in Hawaii. "CDC consults with state labs 24/7 to evaluate potential cases of Ebola. There are no cases being evaluated from the state of Hawaii," a CDC spokesperson told Live Science on Thursday morning.

U.S. hospitals are advised to isolate patients who have fever and recently traveled to West Africa, according to CDC guidelines.

The outbreak in West Africa is the worst in history. So far more than 6,500  people have been infected and at least 3,000 have died in the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.

The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States was announed on Tuesday. The case involves a man who had arrived from Liberia, and then developed symptoms in Texas and was hospitalized. Previously, several health workers from the United States were infected with Ebola virus while working in West Africa, and were later transported to U.S. hospitals for treatment.

Email Bahar Gholipour. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Originally published on Live Science.

Bahar Gholipour
Staff Writer
Bahar Gholipour is a staff reporter for Live Science covering neuroscience, odd medical cases and all things health. She holds a Master of Science degree in neuroscience from the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris, and has done graduate-level work in science journalism at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has worked as a research assistant at the Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives at ENS.