DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Health officials announced Sunday afternoon they have a patient in isolation who they were concerned was exposed to Ebola. They say the man recently traveled to the Congo and returned to the United States a couple of days ago.
Late Sunday night, officials say the tests for Ebola came back negative.
He became very sick Sunday morning, according to health officials. Then he was brought to the hospital from his home.
The patient told doctors he was recently with, or around, sick and deceased people in the Congo. However, that region of the Congo has not had a confirmed case of Ebola in the past 45 days.
“The symptoms can mimic a lot of common illnesses… anything from the flu to appendicitis,” said Connie Price, an infectious diseases physician and Chief Medical Officer of Denver Health.
Due to his symptoms, and the location which he just returned from, he was admitted to Denver Health’s $2.9 million Bio-Containment Unit.
Emergency crews were seen in hazmat-like suits entering the building Sunday afternoon. The hospital is operating as normal, and officials say there is no threat to the public, including patients and staff.
“From an initial review of the situation and the symptoms presented by the patient, it is unlikely that this will be confirmed as an Ebola case,” said Price.
Denver Health is one of 10 regional facilities designated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to care for patients with Ebola.
The unit, built in 2017, has its own ventilation system, a proper avenue to disposal of gloves and protective suits, and a staff which is trained on handling infectious and rare diseases.
“It is a very secured area, it is isolated from the rest of the hospital,” Price said. “We have the ability to give the patient care, but while protecting the rest of the hospital and our staff from a potential exposure.”
The paramedics who transferred the patient to the hospital were also isolated from others, until he could be cleared of Ebola.