The man who arrived at Duke University Hospital on Sunday night worrying that he had contracted Ebola still shows no symptoms of the disease, the state epidemiologist said Tuesday.
A blood test early Monday showed no signs of the deadly virus, and if the unidentified man passes a second test Wednesday, he will be declared free of it, said Megan Davies.
The man had flown into New Jersey on Saturday from Liberia, which is one of three West African countries caught up in the largest outbreak ever of Ebola.
He took a commercial bus to Durham, where he was picked up Sunday by members of his family and driven to their home in Person County. There, he developed a fever, which is one symptom of Ebola, and called the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which in turn alerted state health officials.
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After the first test was negative, federal officials decided there was no reason to track the other passengers on the bus he had taken from New Jersey. Three members of his family who live at the house in Person County, though, agreed to self-quarantine at their home until the results of the second test.
Ebola is contagious only after someone develops symptoms and can be spread only via contact with bodily fluids of someone who is contagious.
Davies, speaking at a news conference Tuesday, said the state had the authority to require mandatory quarantines of people who pose potential health threats, but that all three family members and the patient had been cooperative.
There was no medical reason for the three family members to be quarantined after the first test came back negative, she said, but they agreed to remain isolated simply to reassure the public.
The EMS crew that brought the man to Duke was not quarantined, but Duke has pulled the ambulance out of service for awhile, Davies said.