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American monitored for possible Ebola did not have disease

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By Phil Helsel

An American man who had been monitored for possible exposure to Ebola while in Africa has been released from a hospital after showing no signs of the deadly disease, a Nebraska medical center said Saturday.

“This person completed the required 21-day monitoring period and did not develop symptoms of the disease,” Dr. Ted Cieslak, infectious diseases specialist with Nebraska Medicine, said in a statement.

“Because this individual was symptom free throughout the monitoring period, it was determined they did not have Ebola, and therefore, were free to depart our facility and return home,” said Cieslak, who also is an associate professor of epidemiology in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health.

The man, who has not been identified but was referred to as an American health provider, was being monitored for possible exposure to Ebola while in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The person has requested privacy during the monitoring process, the statement said.

He arrived in Omaha for monitoring on Dec. 29 and while at the Nebraska Medical Center, he was in a secure area not accessible to the public or any patients, the medical system said in the statement.

“This individual never developed the potentially deadly disease and poses no risk to the public,” the statement said.

Had the man developed symptoms of Ebola, he would have been transferred to the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, which is described as a collaborative project involving Nebraska Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and which was commissioned by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005.

That unit treated three Ebola patients in 2014. Two survived and one died.

The Congo is in the midst of an Ebola outbreak that as of Jan. 9 has killed at least 337 people, and suspected in 385 deaths overall, according to the World Health Organization. Forty-eight of the 385 deaths are considered probable.

The largest Ebola outbreak in history occurred in 2014 through 2016 and primarily affected the western African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By the time that outbreak ended 11,325 people had died, the agency said.

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