Healthcare Business News

California patient not carrying Ebola, officials announce

By Steven Ross Johnson
Posted: August 22, 2014 - 7:45 pm ET

A patient at a California hospital who was tested for Ebola this week is not carrying the deadly virus, state health officials announced Thursday.

The patient, who is being treated at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, was always considered to be at low risk for having the virus, which has killed more than 1,400 people across four countries in West Africa since March, but was tested “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the California Department of Public Health.

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“We are pleased with the negative outcome of the Ebola test and wish the patient a speedy recovery,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, CDPH director. “The case in Sacramento County demonstrates that the system is working. This patient was quickly identified, appropriate infection control procedures were implemented and public health authorities were notified,” he said.

The California patient is one of a number of suspected cases of Ebola that have occurred in hospitals throughout the country in recent weeks. On Monday, a 30-year-old female patient at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque was tested for the virus after a reported recent return from Sierra Leone.

Nine suspected cases of Ebola have occurred over the past month in the U.S. that involved testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency said it has received a total of 68 calls about possible Ebola infections during that period from hospitals in 29 states, 59 of which were determined to be false positives.

There have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in the U.S. The first Americans infected with the virus, Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, and Nancy Writebol, 59, contracted it while performing aid work in Liberia and were transported to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in early August for treatment.

Both have recovered and were discharged from the hospital this week. “Today is a miraculous day,” Brantly said at a press conference Thursday. “I am thrilled to be alive, to be well and to be reunited with my family.”

Follow Steven Ross Johnson on Twitter: @MHsjohnson

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