No patients at Washington-area hospitals who were being evaluated for Ebola have the deadly disease, health officials say.
A patient at Howard University Hospital had been “ruled out” as an Ebola case, officials there said Saturday, while a patient at George Washington University Hospital was determined to have the flu.
A third patient, who was evaluated at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Md., had malaria, and not Ebola, the hospital said Friday.
“Ebola has very clear symptoms that inevitably worsen over time . . . fever, bleeding from the eyes and a growing rash that consumes over 75 percent of the human body,” Joxel Garcia, director of the D.C. Department of Health, said in a statement Saturday.
The local patients were checked for the disease out of caution, officials said.
Howard hospital spokeswoman Kerry-Ann Hamilton did not specify what other disease her hospital’s patient had.
Through laboratory tests, the CDC confirmed Tuesday the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States — in a person who had traveled to Texas from Liberia.
“We have already gotten well over a hundred inquiries of possible patients,” Tom Frieden, director of the CDC in Atlanta, said Saturday. “We’ve assessed every one of those with state and local health departments . . . and hospitals and just . . . one patient has tested positive.”
“We expect that we will see more rumors, or concerns or possibilities of cases,” he said. “Until there is a positive laboratory test, that is what they are: rumors and concerns.”
He added that officials want to hear of possible cases — but cases of people who have symptoms and who have traveled to Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia in the past 21 days.
While Ebola continues to devastate those West African nations, the outbreak in Nigeria — where the Howard patient had traveled — may actually be over.
“We think transmission there . . . has ended,” he said.
Overall, the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has killed at least 3,439 people in West Africa and infected thousands more, according to the World Health Organization.
But before an Ebola case was confirmed in Dallas this week, there had not been a single Ebola diagnosis in the United States.
Potential Ebola patients who were evaluated in New York, California, New Mexico and Miami all tested negative for the virus.
People with Ebola are not contagious until they begin showing symptoms, which include a fever of greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, severe headache and vomiting. And you can only get Ebola through contact with a contagious person’s bodily fluids.
Several Ebola patients have been transported from West Africa to the United States, including three Americans who were in Liberia — doctors Richard Sacra and Kent Brantly, and missionary worker Nancy Writebol — who have already been discharged after they were successfully treated here. A Liberian American, Patrick Sawyer, fell ill after traveling to Nigeria and died of the disease.
The NIH in Bethesda recently admitted an American patient who had been exposed to Ebola.
On Thursday night, NBC News announced that a freelance cameraman working for the network in Liberia has tested positive for Ebola and will return to the United States for treatment.
Elahe Izadi, Susan Svrluga and Abby Ohlheiser contributed to this story.
Read more: How infectious is Ebola?