Officials: Patient hospitalized in Philadelphia does not have Ebola

PHILADELPHIA -- Tests have confirmed that a patient at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia does not have Ebola, officials say.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed the results on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the department, Ebola was ruled out and another diagnosis was made. The nature of that diagnosis was not disclosed.

Penn Medicine officials said in an earlier statement the patient met the screening criteria for Ebola testing.

Here is the full statement from Dr. PJ Brennan, Penn Medicine's chief medical officer:

Clinical teams at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania have received extensive training and conduct ongoing preparations for the possibility of caring for a patient with the Ebola virus since the appearance of the virus in the United States in 2014. In an abundance of caution, a patient who met screening criteria for Ebola testing is currently being evaluated at HUP while tests to assess the patient's condition are completed. Preliminary testing indicates that the patient has another condition. Proper protocols and precautions will remain in place to ensure the safety of all of our patients and staff. We are not able to provide any additional information about the patient at this time due to privacy laws.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the Ebola virus spreads to people through direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola Virus Disease. This can occur when a person touches the infected body fluids (or objects that are contaminated with them), and the virus gets in through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus can also spread to people through direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected fruit bats or primates. People can get the virus through sexual contact as well.

Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to EVD though 8 to 10 days is most common.

The CDC says Ebola is a rare but severe and often deadly disease. Recovery from EVD depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient's immune response. Studies show that survivors of Ebola virus infection have antibodies (molecules that are made by the immune system to label invading pathogens for destruction) that can be detected in the blood up to 10 years after recovery.

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Patient being tested at HUP for Ebola. Tamala Edwards reports during Action News Mornings on February 6, 2019.

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