NY Daily News: Eric Silverman, a 27-year-old Brooklyn grad student who returned from Sierra Leone in July, is the man who was quarantined at Mount Sinai Medical Center after complaining of symptoms all too familiar to Ebola victims. In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, Silverman recalls waking up to people wearing ‘space suits,’ being isolated from his worried family, and having his boxers incinerated as a precaution against infected bodily fluids.
While New York held its collective breath last week, frightened over reports that an anonymous patient at Mount Sinai Medical Center was infected with the deadly Ebola virus, Eric Silverman’s feverish eyes were glued to CNN.
“Is that me they are talking about?” the incredulous 27-year-old Brooklyn grad student asked his nurse, Margaret Kraus, as she tended to him in the intensive care unit’s isolation room.
It was, indeed.
Silverman is the mystery man who was quarantined in the Manhattan hospital for three anxious days after he told doctors he had just returned from Sierra Leone in West Africa, where he had been doing humanitarian aid work. He was complaining of flu-like symptoms all too familiar to Ebola victims — a high fever, a sore throat, headache and diarrhea. The hospital had no choice but to isolate him and gear up for what might be the first of many such scares.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, Silverman broke his silence, recounting the hellish ordeal and then the great relief he and his family experienced when test results from the CDC found no trace of Ebola. He could go home to Prospect Heights to recover and resume a normal life.
“It was surreal,” said Silverman, who will begin a master’s program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs next month. “Even my friends didn’t believe me when I told them I was the mystery patient. They thought I was joking.”