The ebola virus viewed under a microscope. Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The ebola virus viewed under a microscope. Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Updated at 11:05 a.m.,March 23, 2015

A Santa Barbara County resident who spent time in an Ebola-affected region and was transferred to a Los Angeles-area hospital after developing a fever tested negative for the deadly disease, health officials said.

Officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health insisted there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in the county.

Health officials did not specify where the patient was taken to be monitored after developing a fever. Deputy Director of Community Health for Santa Barbara County Susan Klein-Rothschild said Sunday the patient was being taken to a hospital in the “Los Angeles area.” Santa Barbara officials confirmed this morning the patient does not have ebola and was being released from the hospital.

“Today we had an individual in our Ebola monitoring program who developed a fever and displayed signs of illness,” said Klein-Rothschild said Sunday.

“While this is a low risk situation and highly unlikely to be Ebola, after conferring with the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, a decision was made to take all precautionary measures and transport the patient to the hospital for observation.”

She declined to release the gender of the patient. KEYT Newscenter 3 in Santa Barbara reported the patient is a woman.

The patient was identified upon return from a country with an active Ebola epidemic, Klein-Rothschild said. “In concert with established protocols, there is an extensive screening interview and monitoring for symptoms multiple times daily during the potential Ebola virus incubation period of 21 days.” The patient was monitored at home.

It was during that monitoring that public health officials observed the fever and signs of illness, prompting them to isolate the patient and arrange transport to a hospital for “close monitoring, testing and implementation of full infection control measures,” she said. “The individual will remain in the hospital until results of testing are completed.”

The hospitalization is “in an abundance of caution,” and “to protect the traveler and the community,” Klein-Rothschild told City News Service. “There is no risk to the community. Any close contacts have been identified an notified.”

Countries where Ebola is active are Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the Centers for Disease Control website.

— City News Service

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