Health officials rule out Ebola in DC patient

Health officials rule out Ebola in DC patient
© Getty Images

Health officials on Saturday ruled out a case of the Ebola virus for a patient being treated in Washington. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The patient, who had recently traveled to Nigeria and was isolated on Friday at Howard University Hospital with Ebola-like symptoms, tested negative for the disease, according to the D.C. Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“In keeping with infection control protocols and in an abundance of caution, our medical team remains ever vigilant and takes proactive steps to quickly identify, isolate and screen any individual who presents with signs or symptoms of communicable diseases,” said university spokeswoman Kerry-Ann Hamilton in a statement.

Nigeria has seen only a small outbreak of Ebola — 20 cases through last week — and has nearly contained the disease.

“Based on the clinical presentation of the patient, the medical team was able to rule out Ebola, the patient will be treated for other illnesses,” said Dr. Joxel Garcia, director of D.C.’s health department.

Dr. John Davies-Cole, a D.C. epidemiologist, said while the Howard patient doesn’t have the disease, “out of an abundance of caution we will continue to work with the Howard University medical team to monitor the patient’s progress.”

So far, only one patient in the United States has tested positive for the disease, which is ravaging West Africa. 

A Liberian man,  Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with the disease in Dallas on Tuesday. 

So far, none of the nine people who had been in close contact with Duncan are showing any symptoms, CDC and Texas health officials said Saturday. 

"We've been very busy the last 24 hours trying to make sure that everyone who has had potential exposure is identified, and they have been evaluated," said Texas Health Commissioner David Lakey during a briefing.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden said there were another 40 or so people who may have had contact with Duncan who are being watched for possible symptoms. 

This post was updated at 1:48 p.m.