Patient at Ben Taub tests negative for Ebola

HOUSTON -- Overnight tests have confirmed that a patient at Ben Taub Hospital does not have Ebola, the hospital confirmed early Wednesday morning.

The patient, a woman, was placed in isolation after being taken in for care earlier this week.

"I think she had some symptoms that were concerning," said Kathy Barton, spokeswoman for the City of Houston Health Department.

Monday night she was brought in with full hazmat response. Originally, city health officials said she would not be tested for Ebola, but after further talks with the CDC a test was carried out.

"I think it was just a night of discussion and thinking about it," said Barton.

She was tested out of, what they call, an abundance of caution.

"They just wanted to be extra cautious to reassure their staff and all the family members what this was or was not," said Barton.

Officials say the woman traveled from Mali, in West Africa, to Houston to visit family.

"Most of the time she was here before she was hospitalized she spent in the residence, she had very little exposure to people except for her contacts," said Barton.

She'd been in the U.S. around 10 days when she showed up at Quentin Mease community hospital on North Macgregor experiencing possible Ebola-like symptoms. The room she was in there was closed for cleaning, while she was transported to Ben Taub with every precaution.

"They use personal protective equipment, they are suited up and she is in a room where there is positive air flow so there is no exposure, no risk to anybody else," said Barton.

Just two days ago, the CDC issued a level two alert for Mali saying, "CDC recommends that travelers to Mali protect themselves by avoiding contact with the blood and body fluids of people who are sick, because of the possibility they may be sick with Ebola."

"In Mali there was no known exposure, they have very limited Ebola activity in Mali, just 4 cases, so it's pretty likely she would remember had she been around one of those cases," said Barton.

There was a man traveling with this woman. He is not experiencing symptoms, but is being monitored.

Related: Patient taken to Ben Taub does not have Ebola


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