University of Kansas Hospital says prelim. results indicate isolated patient does not have Ebola virus

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The University of Kansas Hospital released preliminary Ebola test results at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, indicating the man in its care does not test positive for Ebola. A sample sent to Omaha came back negative and the hospital is now awaiting results from a sample sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Dr. Lee Norman, chief medical officer of the hospital, said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon that the hospital expects those results by Wednesday or Thursday. Dr. Norman described that the testing done by the CDC is more sensitive and will serve as the final word on whether the patient has Ebola or not.

Dr. Norman said the patient continues to show improvement, his fluids have returned to a normal level and he's feeling more comfortable and optimistic.

The man, who is in his 40s, complained of a high fever and other serious Ebola-like symptoms, contacted and then entered The University of Kansas Hospital around 6 a.m. on Monday. The hospital says the patient recently worked as a medical officer on a commercial ship off the west coast of Africa and has a low-to-moderate risk of Ebola.

The patient, a Kansas City, Kan., resident had been on the ship as a medical officer as recently as four-to-five days ago and was reportedly suffering from diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and general fatigue. He lost a lot of weight due to dehydration, but showed signs of improvement after being treated and given IV fluids on Monday.

The patient is being kept in strict isolation as the hospital awaits final test results.

Dr. Norman says there are many other diseases that fit the patient’s symptoms, but the hospital is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control to determine whether the patient has Ebola or not.

The patient is being cared for by a team of six health professionals at all times, who will not treat other patients until a diagnosis and treatment plans are completed. The hospital says that regardless of a diagnosis, this patient does not pose a health risk to other patients, staff or visitors at the hospital. In addition to being in an area with its own ventilation system, all bedding and waste is isolated from regular hospital material due to guidelines from the CDC and state of Kansas.

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