Officials with U.C. Davis Medical Center confirmed they are treating a patient who presents with symptoms consistent with the Ebola virus.
According to the L.A. Times, the unnamed patient was transferred to U.C. Davis from Mercy General in Sacramento on Thursday.
Dorsey Griffith, a spokesman for UC Davis, states that they could receive a confirmation of the diagnosis by the end of today should the patient be infected with Ebola, and that U.C. Davis is, “fully prepared to safely assess and treat the patient.”
This comes on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that scientists have discovered the Ebola virus, like influenza and HIV, is mutating.
The Ebola virus is currently spread only through direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood. A mutated version of Ebola could be less lethal but more contagious — and eventually airborne — according to experts.
Scientists were hopeful to have discovered a vaccination for Ebola; however, if the virus were to mutate, it would be similar to current flu vaccinations in which patients are only protected from certain strains.
U.C. Davis Medical Center was identified in December by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as one of the thirty five hospitals in the United States equipped to handle Ebola victims appropriately.
The CDC designated hospitals when it was determined that improper procedure was followed with the treatment of Eric Thomas Duncan, the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States.
Staff at U.C. Davis could be seen this morning standing outside of the facility in protective medical equipment such as gowns, masks, and gloves, as they began cleaning the medical vehicle which had transferred the patient from Mercy General.
According to the Huffington Post, U.C. Davis has not released any details about the patient, including personal identifiers such as age or gender, where they may have been exposed to Ebola, or what symptoms they are experiencing. The patient has been identified as “low risk.”
U.C. Davis is expected to remain open at this time, but the emergency room of Mercy General will remain closed until later this afternoon so that proper precautions can be taken in cleaning and sterilizing the environment.
There were only 99 new cases of Ebola diagnosed in West Africa last week, signaling a possible end to the region’s epidemic that has claimed more than 22,000 lives in that region since 2013.
Officials in Liberia recently announced that due to the falling numbers of new Ebola cases, children would finally be able to return to school for the first time since July of last year.
[Image provided courtesy of Capital Public Radio]