A North Carolina man has been cleared of Ebola after returning from Liberia with flu-like symptoms, but despite the averted crisis, experts believe the spread of the deadly virus is inevitable.
The North Carolina patient had been quarantined at Duke University Hospital in Durham after he came down with symptoms similar to the onset of Ebola. Though authorities said he had no known exposure to the disease, he was monitored closely to see if his symptoms progressed.
The state’s Department of Health and Human Services informed residents of steps taken to treat the suspected North Carolina Ebola patient.
“The patient will remain in a contained, isolated and secured unit until the results of testing are known. These precautions are being taken based on the patient’s recent travel from Liberia. Ebola is not spread through the air, water or food – or simply by being near an infected person. Ebola is only spread through unprotected contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person who has symptoms, or with objects like needles that have been contaminated with the virus.”
But on Monday authorities said the North Carolina man tested negative for Ebola. They said the risk to the public is “extremely low,” but noted that they were reaching out to people who may have come into contact with the man as a precaution. The patient had traveled on a commercial bus from Newark to Person County.
While health officials nationwide shared North Carolina’s belief that the likelihood of a widespread Ebola outbreak is low, they cautioned that more cases are likely.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a huge outbreak here, no,” Dr. David Relman, professor of infectious disease, microbiology, and immunology at Stanford University’s medical school, told the Associated Press. “However, as best we can tell right now, it is quite possible that every major city will see at least a handful of cases.”
The North Carolina man cleared of Ebola will remain in isolation and is being monitored for other diseases, health officials said.