Monday morning a patient at Duke University Hospital that had recently returned from Liberia tested negative for Ebola.
The patient, whose privacy officials are respecting, developed a fever Sunday and checked themselves in. He or she had arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport Saturday, taken a taxi, and met family members at a Durham County bus depot early Sunday.
“Based on today’s conversation with U.S. Centers for Disease control and Prevention, the negative result indicates this person was not contagious and posed no health or safety threat during travels to North Carolina or to Duke,” said State Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Aldona Wos.
To be careful, however, the patient is to remain in isolation until a second test after the first 72 hours can confirm the negative result.
“Sometimes, in very early stages, with only a few symptoms, there will not be enough virus in the blood to turn the test positive,” said Duke Hospital’s chief medical officer Dr. Lisa Pickett. “Then later, as there’s more and more virus in the blood, there would be enough to turn the test positive and then, likely at that point, to give the patient more symptoms.”
The first test is a good sign, but the second test will confirm that Ebola is not yet in North Carolina.