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February 06, 2019

Tests confirm Philly patient does not have deadly Ebola virus

The patient has another undisclosed condition

Health News Ebola
HUP_Google_Maps Google/Street View

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

A patient at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania who was screened for Ebola does not have the deadly virus, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

State health officials issued a statement Wednesday afternoon acknowleding that the department often consults with hospitals on complex cases, "including symptoms that may suggest a serious disease, particularly involving patients who have traveled overseas."

After further investigation and testing of the HUP patient, "Ebola has been ruled out and another diagnosis has been made," the statement concluded.

The testing had no impact on other HUP patients or visitors, according to Penn Medicine. All hospital operations are continuing as usual. 

Earlier Wednesday, Dr. Patrick J. Brennan, Penn Medicine's chief medical officer issued a statement saying preliminary testing indicated the patient had another, undisclosed condition. But doctors were still waiting for the results to be confirmed. 

"In an abundance of caution, a patient who met screening criteria for Ebola testing is currently being evaluated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania while tests to assess the patient’s condition are completed," Brennan said. "Preliminary testing indicates that the patient has another condition, which is likely the cause of their illness."

Brennan said Penn Medicine was unable to disclose any additional information about the patient, citing privacy laws. He stressed there was no risk to other patients or visitors.

"Proper protocols and precautions – including isolation of the patient in a section of the hospital where they have no contact with other patients or members of the public – will remain in place until definitive testing is completed," Brennan said.

Ebola is a rare but deadly disease that typically occurs in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease only has appeared in the United States after people acquired it in other countries and transmission followed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is currently an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 486 people had died through Monday, according to the World Health Organization.

Penn Medicine did not state whether the patient recently traveled to the Central African areas impacted by the current outbreak.

Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal or a sick or deceased human infected by the virus, according to the CDC. There are no approved vaccines or treatments.

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