State disease doctor 'expects' woman's Ebola tests to be negative

Updated: 08/18/2014 6:59 PM | Created: 08/18/2014 5:42 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

All eyes are on New Mexico as the state awaits word on whether or not an Albuquerque woman has the Ebola virus, and whether or not her presence in the state is causing any safety concerns.

Doctors took blood samples from the 30-year-old female patient over the weekend. By Monday afternoon, they packaged the samples, which are now on their way to the [Center for Disease Control] in Atlanta.

"The clinical specimens are sent with the highest level of safety.  It's packaged in a specific kind of way so that wherever they are in contact with it, there are various layers of boxes and protections so that no one has any danger of being exposed to anything dangerous," Deputy State Epidemiologist Joan Baumbach said.

Baumbach also told KOB the patient is reportedly doing well while in isolation at UNM Hospital, and even though the patient had been traveling in an area of the world where Ebola is a problem, she thinks there is a low chance the woman will test positive.

"Once the test comes back, which I expect to be negative, the pursuit of her diagnosis will be determined and finalized," Baumbach said.

If the test is positive, it would be the first confirmed case in the United States. The CDC and State Health Department would then create a plan to ensure the woman received treatment and had no further exposure.

"The patient has not had any direct contact of her bodily fluids with anyone, so even if she was positive, we think we're in a safe situation with her contacts also," Baumbach said.

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