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UPDATE: Sick Woman at Inova Fairfax Hospital Does Not Have Ebola

by Andrea Swalec — October 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm 24,953 7 Comments

Ebola Virus/Credit: CDC

Update at 5:20 p.m. — The woman who vomited on a tour bus near the Pentagon Friday morning and set off quarantines across the region does not have Ebola, Fairfax and Arlington health department officials said Friday evening.

“Based on the public health investigation, which included the travel history of a woman who became ill this morning in a Pentagon parking lot, and on questioning of her by medical staff, medical authorities are confident that she does not have Ebola,” officials said in a statement.

(Updated at 5:00) A woman vomiting on a tour bus near the Pentagon Friday morning is being evaluated for possible symptoms of Ebola at Fairfax Inova Hospital.

County health officials said the woman is being kept in isolation while they get information about her health and travel history. Local health departments are working to find every person who had contact with the woman.

“The patient was immediately isolated and is undergoing triage in consultation with the Fairfax County Health Department,” Inova said in a statement. “Based upon that evaluation, a decision will be made by the health department as to whether the patient meets the criteria to be tested for the Ebola virus.”

The Centers for Disease Control will determine whether the woman should be tested for Ebola, Fairfax County Health Department officials said about 3 p.m.

The woman, whose age was not released, became ill on a tour bus in the Pentagon’s south parking lot about 9:10 a.m. Friday, according to a statement from Arlington County. When medics learned she had recently arrived from Africa, a hazardous materials team was called out of “a complete abundance of caution,” Pentagon Force Protection Agency spokesman Chris Layman told ARLnow.com.

The woman was initially taken to Virginia Hospital Center but did not exit the ambulance. The Arlington County Fire Department then transported her to Fairfax Inova Hospital, Arlington officials said. A news chopper photographer posted photos of emergency vehicles and an orange protective tent outside the 3300 Gallows Rd. hospital about 12:15 p.m.

Two officials with knowledge of the incident, plus the woman’s boss at a public relations firm, said they do not believe the patient had recently traveled outside the U.S., The Washington Post reported. Rather, the woman was suffering from a “severe illness” and might have boarded the wrong bus, her boss said.

The bus the woman briefly rode was quarantined for four hours near Barracks Row in D.C. and D.C. police closed an entire block, the Post reported. D.C. Department of Health officials told U.S. Marines and others on board — who had no contact with the woman — to take their temperatures twice a day for the next three weeks and report any irregularities.

An Inova representative said Thursday that he was “absolutely confident” the facility could treat Ebola patients. Officials said then that they planned to open a separate Ebola unit next week.

A Loudoun county inmate who had recently traveled in West Africa was taken to Inova Loudoun Hospital on Thursday after she was found to have a low-grade fever, the Post reported. The middle-aged woman “didn’t meet the threshold for Ebola testing,” the hospital said in a statement Friday morning. “All safety precautions and protocols were in place” at the Loudoun hospital, they said.

  • Why wouldn’t they just go ahead and test? Why mess around?

    • Wayne Fields

      I was wondering the same thing…. then it would be easier and they’d waste less time tracking down whomever she may have come into contact with…. SMH

    • Laura Calacci

      I called them and asked that very question. The test can only be administered by the CDC, as crazy as that sounds. And its not widely available. So they screen, ask questions etc and they determined that this person did not warrant testing. I hope she doesn’t show back up at the ER in a day or two like the man in Texas.

  • kcowing

    This has NOTHING to do with Ebola – so why do you have a Ebola virus graphic? You are just part of the arm waving media on all of this.

  • John Smith

    If democrats are willing to force you to buy health insurance, is there anything they aren’t willing to force you to do?

    • Chuck Morningwood

      So you’re convinced, then, that some people (and society, in general) are better off without health insurance? Let me ask you this, do you feel safer out on the roads knowing that some drivers don’t have auto insurance?

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