A subsequent test of a new specimen provided by the patient at Duke University Hospital in Durham has resulted in a confirmed negative laboratory diagnosis for Ebola. This test, conducted 72 hours after an initial test was negative for the virus, confirms the patient is currently Ebola free.
The testing was conducted at the State Laboratory of Public Health, located in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), one of 15 state labs approved by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test blood specimens for Ebola.
The patient has been in good condition since admission to Duke on November 2 and was discharged after the latest negative result was received. Additionally, the precautionary quarantine and monitoring measures for the individuals who had contact with the patient once the fever was registered on Sunday have ceased.
“As per routine protocol for all individuals who have recently traveled to West Africa, the former patient will continue to be monitored by the local public health department for any fever or symptoms until 21 days after leaving the affected area.
“We are obviously very pleased that the patient’s confirmatory test was negative for Ebola,” said NC DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos. “I am extremely pleased with the collaboration between the state, federal and local governments and Duke University Hospital.
“However, we must continue to prepare for the possibility that an individual in North Carolina might be diagnosed with Ebola while the outbreak is still occurring in West Africa.”
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 or develops a fever within 21 days after traveling to an affected area in West Africa should contact the CDC, their local health care provider or public health department by phone immediately and limit their contact with others until they have been evaluated.