UNMH Patient Tested For Ebola

Aug 18, 2014

The Department of Health sent clinical samples to the CDC today to make sure a New Mexico patient doesn’t have the Ebola virus. 

A 30-year-old woman in Albuquerque went to the hospital this weekend with a sore throat, headache, muscle aches and a fever after returning from a trip to West Africa, where an Ebola epidemic this year has killed more than 1,000 people.

Dr. Joan Baumbach, deputy state epidemiologist, said the Department of Health is being cautious by conducting the tests. Even if test results were to come back positive for Ebola, she said, New Mexicans should not be worried: There is no risk of outbreak.

"If it were me or my family members and I needed care at the University of New Mexico Hospital, I would not hesitate," Baumbach said. "I would go about my business as it relates to day-to-day activities and also as it relates to health care."

A technician sets up an assay for Ebola within a containment laboratory.
Credit Dr. Randal J. Schoepp via Army Medicine / Creative Commons

Baumbach said the patient wasn’t exposed to anything of concern in West Africa, and her fever has not been high, as is usually the case with Ebola. All of the correct prevention measures have been taken at the University of New Mexico Hospital, she added, and the patient disclosed all contact she’s had with other people.

There have been no reported cases of Ebola in the United States. Results from the UNM patient’s tests should come in by the end of the week.