NC patient tests negative for Ebola

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A preliminary test of a patient at Duke University Hospital in Durham has come back negative for Ebola, state officials said this morning.

According to a news release, additional testing will be done 72 hours after the man’s fever first developed to confirm this preliminary result. The NC Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release it is important to note that the patient’s fever could indicate other illnesses.

The patient, whose name has not been released, developed a fever yesterday one day after arriving in Person County. The patient returned from Liberia Friday to Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey. He then took a commercial bus from Newark to Durham yesterday, and was picked up by family and taken to Person County.

Until the results of additional testing are known, the patient will remain in the contained, isolated and secured unit at Duke, where he has received care since being admitted to the hospital last night. State regulators say there are no other patients being cared for on this unit, and staff caring for these patients will have no other patient contact during this time. The patient continues to be treated and is also being evaluated for other conditions.

The patient has been and will continue to be interviewed regarding close contacts, activities and travel. Contact tracing remains underway, including precautionary control measures, although public health officials believe the risk of exposure to others is extremely low. Individuals who may have come in contact with the individual once symptoms were present continue to be monitored by their local health departments.

“State and county officials have been working closely with health care providers since July to prepare for the possibility that a patient in North Carolina might be diagnosed with Ebola,” Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement. “I want to thank Person County Health Director Janet Clayton, Durham County Health Director Gayle Harris, county officials and Duke University Hospital staff to ensure that the patient was transported and admitted using the appropriate health and safety protocols.”

Ebola is only contagious after the onset of symptoms. Ebola is not spread through the air, water or food – or simply by being near an infected person. Ebola is only spread through unprotected contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person who has symptoms, or with objects like needles that have been contaminated with the virus.

Anyone who becomes ill within 21 days after traveling to an affected area in West Africa should contact a health care provider right away and limit their contact with others until they have been evaluated.

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