UPDATE: Duke patient test negative for Ebola in preliminary analysis

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) and Durham and Person County Health Departments are working closely with Duke University Hospital to monitor a patient who departed from Liberia and arrived in the United States via Newark Liberty International Airport on October 31. The individual arrived in Person County, N.C. on November 1 and developed a fever Sunday morning.

Ebola outbreak
West Africa Ebola outbreak/CDC

The individual did not have any symptoms upon arrival in the United States and does not have any additional symptoms at this time. The individual also had no known exposure to Ebola while in Liberia.

It is important to note that the patient’s fever could indicate other illnesses. The patient will be evaluated for possible causes of fever, including testing for Ebola.

As part of our collaborative partnership, Gov. Pat McCrory, as well as the State Emergency Response Team, have been notified and are on standby to respond as needed. Secretary Aldona Wos and NC DHHS staff, in consultation with the CDC and local health departments, are working to ensure that all appropriate protocols are being followed to protect the health and safety of North Carolinians.

Duke University Hospital in Durham is prepared and equipped for the evaluation, isolation and treatment of suspected Ebola patients. The patient was transported from Person County using the appropriate health and safety protocols. The patient will remain in a contained, isolated and secured unit until the results of testing are known. These precautions are being taken based on the patient’s recent travel from Liberia.

A blood sample from the patient will be sent to the State Laboratory of Public Health, in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, for preliminary testing. The preliminary results of the patient’s first Ebola test are expected to be completed early tomorrow morning. Based on the preliminary results, the specimen will be forwarded to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing.

Contact tracing is currently underway while the cause of the fever in this traveler is being evaluated; 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 will be closely monitored by their local health departments.

Across the country in Oregon, federal, state and county health leaders and caregivers at Providence Health & Services announced Sunday that a patient under monitoring in the Portland area tested negative for Ebola.

“We’re relieved to report there are no cases of Ebola in Oregon and the CDC has advised us that no further testing is required,” said Dr. Katrina Hedberg, state health officer. “In this case, the system worked well and our preparations had a satisfactory outcome.”

“This is good news for our patient, her family and her friends,” said Dave Underriner, chief executive for Providence in Oregon. “It’s also a reflection of the outstanding care provided by our specially trained teams here at Providence.”

Out of respect for the patient’s privacy, no additional information on her condition or potential release is available at this time.

The Oregon Health Authority, Multnomah County Health Department and the hospital system worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the patient’s safety as well as protecting healthcare workers and the entire community.

Dr. Paul Lewis, tri-county health officer, said, “We want to especially thank the frontline public health workers, the emergency medical service first responders and the Providence Health & Services employees who evaluated, transported and safely cared for this individual.’’

As of Sunday, November 2, five people statewide are working with public health officials to monitor their health because of recent travel history to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea. Four people are in the Portland metro area and one is in southern Oregon. The state of Oregon said these individuals present no risk to the community. Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear.

Related: Ebola Q & A with infectious disease experts Smith and Racaniello