By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Kentucky state health officials and the Barbourville Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) hospital are working closely with the local health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate a “potential case of an infectious disease”.

Image/Robert Herriman

“We want to assure Kentuckians we are aware of a potential infectious disease and are working collaboratively with the local hospital as well as local, regional, and federal public health authorities to determine not only a possible cause of illness, but any steps that need to be taken to protect the health and well being of our Commonwealth,” said Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Dr. Angela Dearinger. “We do not believe the wider community to be at-risk and appropriate protocols were followed at the hospital to prevent exposure to other patients.”

Close contacts of the individual, a Union College student, have been identified and are being monitored.

According to a Facebook post by Union College President, Marcia Hawkins, Ph.D., We have not been told the identity of the student. Our student is undergoing tests to identify a virus. So far, we know that the student did not contract the Ebola virus, as has been speculated by posts on Facebook, and that it is not airborne. Also, I’ve been told that the student did not travel out of the country during the break.

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Any threat to the general public is being assessed, but is believed to be extremely low. ARH hospital is open for business and receiving patients.

At this time, a diagnosis has not been made as health officials work to complete necessary medical and laboratory testing outlined by infectious disease protocols. DPH says anyone experiencing signs or symptoms of a viral illness, including fever, nausea, body aches, or lethargy, is encouraged to seek health care immediately.

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