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KU Hospital: Patient Admitted Monday Does Not Have Ebola

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A man who was admitted Monday to The University of Kansas Hospital suffering from diarrhea and who worked recently near Africa's west coast does not have Ebola, the hospital said Tuesday afternoon. 

Results of blood tests showed the patient has not contracted the virus, which has killed more than 4,000 people in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. 

At a news conference, KU Hospital's chief medical officer, Dr. Lee Norman,  said preliminary tests on the patient were negative. 

The patient, who is in his 40s and thought to live in the area, had worked as a medic on a ship off the west coast of Africa. Although he did not have a fever when he arrived at the hospital, he had run a fever previously. 

The patient, whose name has not been disclosed, was placed in strict isolation. His blood was shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to a private lab in Omaha, Neb., for testing. 

Norman said initial lab results from Omaha showed the patient does not have Ebola. However, he said, the hospital is awaiting further confirmation from the CDC in Atlanta in the next day or two.

"But the preliminary results are very, very encouraging for this gentleman," Norman said. 

Meantime, the patient will be kept in isolation as a precautionary measure. 

"As much as we would like to stand down and have less stringent infection control practices, we are keeping everything in place until we get the final word from Atlanta," Norman said. 

Norman said the patient, who probably has a tropical disease such as typhus, is showing improvement. 

As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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