If you’re at Duke University, Ebola could be your new neighbor. A potential case is being studied on campus, though the official report from state health officials suggests that no one should panic just yet.
The L.A. Times reports that a patient who entered the U.S. from Liberia is currently being evaluated for the deadly virus at Duke University Hospital in Durham. North Carolina health officials announced Sunday night that the patient developed a fever, was tested for Ebola, and is currently in isolation.
Officials went on to say that the Duke University “Ebola” patient wasn’t exposed to the virus so far as they know, and didn’t have any symptoms except for the fever. The patient’s blood sample will be tested Monday at a medical facility.
In an official statement, The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services explained the practical reason for the patient’s observation:
“The patient will remain in a contained, isolated and secured unit until the results of testing are known,” said the statement. “These precautions are being taken based on the patient’s recent travel from Liberia.”
They added that even if the patient tested positive for Ebola, the public wouldn’t have much to worry about.
“Ebola is not spread through the air, water or food – or simply by being near an infected person,” they said. “Ebola is only spread through unprotected contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person who has symptoms, or with objects like needles that have been contaminated with the virus.”
Most health officials have distanced themselves from the apparent fear-mongering of the media on the recent Ebola outbreak, and have offered alternative (read: expert) opinions on the virus’ spread and communicability. Thankfully, those practical voices are beginning to sway public opinion.
Last month, a Washington Post poll found that nearly half of all Americans were terrified of Ebola, fearing that someone in their immediate family would get the disease. About 30% of that number were concerned of a “widespread” epidemic of the virus here in the states.
WaPo blamed media hysteria for the number, but it seems as though the more Americans are getting educated about how Ebola is spread, the less they’re buying into the hype. A new poll conducted last week showed that 63% of Americans are confident that the government can handle the Ebola crisis, though up to 70% believe that the fed should impose travel restrictions.
A friendly note from the staff at B2C: we carry stories like the Duke University “Ebola” patient for your knowledge and edification. We’re not interested in freaking anybody out for no reason!