Ebola Test Results Expected Later Today

AUSTIN, October 10, 2014 – State health officials are working closely with doctors at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to evaluate the case of a sheriff's deputy who sought medical care yesterday. Results of tests for Ebola and other potential causes of the illness are expected late this afternoon.

The deputy, who does not have a fever and is doing better, had been briefly inside the apartment of a man who later died of Ebola. The Ebola patient had already been hospitalized so the deputy did not have direct contact with him. All known cases of Ebola have occurred through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids or exposure to contaminated objects, such as needles.

“The risk is extremely low because this individual didn't have contact with the Ebola patient, but we want to err on the side of caution,” said Dr. David Lakey, Texas health commissioner. “We understand there's a lot of anxiety in the community, and we hope getting test results back will help calm those fears.”

The state approved the test for Ebola after consulting with doctors at Presbyterian and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This will be the third person tested for Ebola at the state public health laboratory in Austin. The first was the Dallas patient who tested positive, and the second was a patient from the Houston area who was negative. The Austin lab is one of only 13 in the nation that can test for Ebola.

An Ebola test will return a negative result until a person has enough virus in their system to be detected, and that may not occur until after symptoms have been present for at least a day.

Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can occur two to 21 days after exposure. Early symptoms include fever, headache, abdominal pain and weakness.

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