The Ebola hoaxes have begun.
Authorities in Columbus, Ohio, received a call around 9 p.m. Thursday, according to NBC's WCMH, claiming a local woman was suffering from Ebola-like symptoms. ABC's WSYX reported it was also claimed the woman had recently traveled to West Africa, where the Ebola outbreak has lead to almost 9,000 cases and 4,500 deaths.
Hazmat crews were sent to the woman's home, and she was taken to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Isolation Unit, Columbus' WBNS reported.
Once there, officials discovered it had all been a hoax.
Jose Rodriguez of Columbus Public Health said the woman did not exhibit Ebola symptoms and had not traveled to West Africa, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Tracy Smith, a battalion chief with the local Fire Division, said the woman may have devised the story because she "simply wanted faster treatment for a different illness."
“We are trying to protect the community,” Rodriguez said, “and a hoax really wasted our resources.”
Police will investigate the incident, according to WBNS.
Hoaxes tend to occur in the midst of a health crisis or national tragedy, like the AIDS crises or the 9/11 attacks.
“The more widespread the tragedy, the more attention it gets in the press over a long period of time, the more likely it is that powerless individuals will see a way of establishing control in the worst kinds of ways,” Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University and author of many books about violence, previously told The Huffington Post. He said more Ebola hoaxes will likely happen in the coming months.