NC DHHS Monitoring Traveler at Duke University Hospital for Ebola

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Raleigh, N.C. – The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, 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 Friday. The individual arrived in Person County, N.C. on Saturday, November 1, and developed a fever on Sunday.  

Officials say, 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 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. 

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.