Ebola tests negative for Birmingham patient, family members, firefighters
on August 05, 2015 at 9:09 AM, updated August 05, 2015 at 11:08 AM
A patient exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms tested negative for the virus, authorities confirmed this morning.
Six Birmingham Fire and Rescue firefighters quarantined overnight have also been released after the test results, Battalion Chief C.W. Mardis said this morning. The patient has been diagnosed with malaria after two tests, Mardis said.
“The individual under evaluation has no known exposures to Ebola and has been assessed to be at low, but not zero, risk of Ebola. The patient is improving and has evidence of an illness other than Ebola that can account for symptoms,” the Alabama Department of Public Health announced today.
“An average of eight individuals are monitored for Ebola each month; 109 people have completed 21-day monitoring for Ebola, and four are currently being tracked in Alabama,” the ADPH statement read. “While this person is no longer currently under investigation for Ebola, public health will continue to monitor until the 21-day period is over.”
The laboratory results were returned Wednesday. While this person is no longer currently under investigation for Ebola, public health will continue to monitor until the 21-day period is over.
The patient was admitted to University of Alabama-Birmingham HospitalTuesday night, and eight others quarantined or monitored after coming into contact with that patient. Officials had said the patient was considered “at low risk” for having the disease, but multiple agencies took necessary precautions.
“We had a situation today in which somebody who had recently traveled to a country where there are still some active cases of Ebola had been returned to the U.S.,” Jefferson County Medical Director Edward Khan said Tuesday night. “This person would fit into our low-risk category, meaning they did not come into contact with any known Ebola cases while over there, and they didn’t participate in any high-risk activities such as burial ceremonies or health care work.”
Firefighters and police were initially dispatched Tuesday night to a home in the 1600 block of 17th Street S.W. Birmingham police Lt. Joe Roberts said. The patient, authorities said, had recently returned from West Africa and was running a fever. Multiple streets near the home were completely closed to traffic until about 11 p.m.
Two family members inside the home were asked to remain in the home overnight pending the testing. Six Birmingham emergency responders were quarantined outside the home and later taken to a firehouse inside the Birmingham city limits, where they remained overnight for monitoring.
At the hospital Tuesday night, multiple emergency vehicles, including Birmingham Fire and Rescue Services’ decontamination unit, were stationed on the back side of the UAB Hospital emergency room. The entire 500 block of 19th Street South was closed for about an hour starting at 8:15 p.m.
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