5-Year-Old In Ebola Quarantine In New York Is A Parent’s Worst Nightmare

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anti-vaxxers-think-ebola-is-a-conspiracy-theory-266x200A five-year-old boy in New York is being tested for Ebola. It’s scary and sad and the parents of America seem likely to completely panic about it and start closing down schools, but I can’t even imagine how terrified that poor little boy and his parents must be right now.

According to the New York Times, the boy had recently returned from Guinea in West Africa and was showing symptoms consistent with Ebola infection, which include vomiting and a fever. His family does not know if he had any contact with anyone who was infected with Ebola, but he was taken to a hospital late last night by EMS personnel in hazmat suits and is being held in isolation.

That little boy and his parents must be terrified. Hazmat suits and hospitals are scary enough for adults, but this poor five-year-old boy is stuck in quarantine in a hospital away from his parents and everyone around him is wearing hazmat suits and armed with needles. That poor kid must be so scared.

Five of the boy’s relatives are being quarantined in their own apartment, and New York health officials say the results of the boy’s tests should be available this afternoon. Health officials are also working to figure out everyone the boy and his family may have been in contact with.

As a natural worrier, I realize that I’m the last person who should be telling other parents not to panic. But panicking helps no one. I’m just going to be crossing my fingers that in a few hours hospital officials will be announcing that it was a false alarm and the little boy just needs some children’s Tylenol and to go back home to his family.

Update: The New York Times has updated their story with news from a press conference with Mayor de Blasio. While there is still no new information on the boy’s tests or his current condition, he did say that the boy’s mother is with him at the hospital, and that she is not exhibiting any Ebola symptoms at all. Thank God for that, at least. I just hope the next update is as heartening.

Photograph: Alejandro Dans Neergaard / Shutterstock