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Update, Oct. 6: Health officials have determined that the patient does not have Ebola, a spokeswoman for Howard University said over the weekend.
“Howard University Hospital in conjunction with the District of Columbia Department of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has “ruled out” Ebola for the patient at Howard University,” the statement read.
Original post: A patient with Ebola-like symptoms has been admitted to Howard University Hospital in the Shaw neighborhood. The patient had traveled to Nigeria recently and is currently isolated and being tested. He is in stable condition, according to the university.
The virus has devastated countries in western Africa, particularly Liberia, killing thousands of people. Just days ago, a man in Dallas who had traveled to Liberia was the first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Ebola.
But still, public health experts say this is no reason to freak out—-despite at least some reporters (this one, and this one) saying that the man in D.C. was being hospitalized just miles from the White House.
Julie Fischer, an associate research professor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, says that while President Barack Obama probably has a lot on his mind, “fear that Ebola would be transmitted two miles away from the White House is not something he needs to lie awake worrying about.”
“It’s really important to be cautious, but there is no need to panic,” Fischer says. “The good news in this country is that we have really good resources and training on infection prevention control.”
Fischer said that people and city officials should be aware of the risk factors (traveling to an African country that has been hit by the virus) and symptoms of the virus (diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, and severe headaches).
“In an abundance of caution, we have activated the appropriate infection control protocols, including isolating the patient. Our medical team continues to evaluate and monitor progress in close collaboration with the CDC and the Department of Health,” Howard University spokeswoman Kerry-Ann Hamilton writes in an email.
Photo by NCinDC via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0