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Preliminary Test Results Negative for Ebola in Hospitalized Patient

To: Duke Faculty, Staff and Students

From: William J. Fulkerson, Jr., MD, Executive Vice President, DUHSThomas Owens, MD, Chief Medical Officer, DUHS

Subject: Preliminary test results negative for Ebola in hospitalized patient

We wanted to share with you that the patient who was transported to Duke University Hospital yesterday with a reported fever and a travel history to West Africa has tested negative for Ebola infection in a preliminary lab screening. We were notified of the results of this initial test this morning by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services who performed the test.  A confirming test will be run in 72 hours.

Until Ebola infection is definitively ruled out, the patient will remain under care in a completely contained, isolated and secured unit at Duke University Hospital and all other aspects of our comprehensive infection control plan remain in place.  

The patient's care team at DUH has undergone extensive training over the past several weeks in caring for such a patient. This patient is being cared for in a separate unit with no other patients, and staff caring for these patients will have no other patient contact during this time. The team has received hours of training in the proper use of personal protective equipment to prevent their exposure to the virus.

Please continue to keep in mind and remind our patients and visitors about the importance of understanding that the risk of exposure or transmission of the virus to any patients, visitors, employees or healthcare professionals within Duke University Hospital is extremely low and highly unlikely.  Ebola can only be transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of a patient with the virus.Ebola is not spread through airborne transmission like the flu or a cold.

Our team remains in continuous contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health departments and will, therefore, be able to monitor in real time any new information related to the virus or care for Ebola patients.

It's also important to recognize this patient's rights to confidentiality and would remind us all to strictly adhere to all of our privacy policies and procedures.

We are committed to keeping you updated as information becomes available. A dedicated website has been created toprovide ongoing updates and other information, and we would encourage you to use the response function on the site to let us know if you have any questions.