UMC says 'No Ebola' in Lubbock, symptoms part of 'known medical - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

UMC says 'No Ebola' in Lubbock, symptoms part of 'known medical condition'

(Source: Nikki A. Torres) (Source: Nikki A. Torres)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Representatives from UMC held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to reassure Lubbock citizens that the patient put into quarantine on Thursday morning did not have Ebola.

"It was determined that the patient did not have Ebola," Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Ragain said. "The patient was fully evaluated. The State of Texas was contacted and based on the details of the case decided not to do testing for Ebola. The patient was treated and released by University Medical Center and his condition will be followed up by the City of Lubbock Health Department for monitoring."

EMS and hospital staff followed isolation procedures as a precaution, but a team of UMC physicians determined that his symptoms were part of a known medical condition

Ragain said there were two major factors in their decision: nature of symptoms and location of travel.

"The things that we look for are presence of fever, one, and historical factors of travel to a high-risk area, two. Both of those were no's," Ragain said.

They say this patient had been to the Ivory Coast in Africa, but there has been no Ebola outbreak reported in that area.

The patient did not have a fever and his condition continued to improve throughout the day.

The patient was taken to University Medical Center and placed in isolation after a Hazmat emergency crew responded to a home in the 2600 block of East Auburn Street in East Lubbock around 9 a.m.

Here's a quick reminder about the symptoms of ebola:

The Center for Disease Control says that symptoms include: a fever greater than 101.5 degrees, severe headache, muscle pain and diarrhea.

Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to the virus, but the average is eight to 10 days.

Ebola can only be transmitted by direct contact with someone who already has the virus, and you would need to come into contact with that person's bodily fluids.

Dr. Ragain says anyone concerned about Ebola should consider getting a flu shot. Not only will this prevent the spread of the flu, it will also help contain the fear that many people are experiencing.

Ebola and the flu have similar symptoms, so fear of Ebola is likely to spread as we see more cases of the flu this year.

It's now been confirmed that Thursday's patient did not have the virus, but KCBD NewsChannel 11 wanted to learn more about the response.

Chris Teague, Director of UMC's EMS tells us it starts with the first call for help. The dispatcher will ask the reporting party a series of questions. If their answers meet certain criteria, a full, infectious disease response will be started.

"We have a truck that we designate on backup, ready to go, in case of any kind of infectious disease or something. We line it with plastic and that sort of thing and then the chiefs will take that stuff out to the scene," Teague said.

Teague says since the first diagnosed case of Ebola in Dallas, they added additional personal protection equipment and written new protocols to follow to ensure that first responders and hospital do not have direct contact with a potentially infected person.

"We're also using a buddy system, so anytime somebody is going to put on that equipment, they have another nurse standing right there with them watching them put it on correctly and take it off correctly," Finley said.

"We've had lots of training, lots of programs at the hospital and with EMS. "I think we are as ready as we can be ready for it; hopefully we won't need it again, but if we do we're ready for it," Teague said.

"Treating isolation cases is not anything new for any hospital. In this environment, though, where Ebola concerns are heightened, we have gone back and looked at our protocols, trained staff, identified teams to be specifically trained to deal with these patients," UMC Representative Eric Finley said.

Here are some links provided by the State Operations Center to sign up for information about Ebola:

Texas Department of State Health Services

Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Office of Governor Rick Perry: Ebola Updates

Centers for Disease Control: Ebola Home Page

We'll keep you updated on air and online as we learn more.

RELATED STORIES:

CDC to determine if UMC patient will be tested for Ebola

Lubbock ISD: No students at risk of Ebola exposure

How Ebola originated, how it is spread, how you can protect yourself

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