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Boston patient unlikely to have Ebola, officials say

"The likelihood of Ebola virus disease is extremely low," officials said.

By Brooks Hays
Boston patient unlikely to have Ebola, officials say
A man deemed low risk for the Ebola virus remains in isolation at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (CC/twp)

BOSTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Doctors and patients at an outpatient facility in Boston were held in place for several hours on Sunday, as a emergency hazmat teams responded teams responded to the report of a possible Ebola contamination.

A man who had recently visited Liberia came to Braintree's Harvard Vanguard early Sunday complaining of a headache and muscle aches. His travel history and symptoms compelled staff their to alert authorities. The man was transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he remains in isolation.

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But hospital and state health officials now say the man is low risk for Ebola, and that his symptoms and travel history do not "appear to meet CDC criteria to be considered someone at high risk for Ebola."

"The likelihood of Ebola virus disease is extremely low," read the statement released by the hospital. "There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Massachusetts," state health officials reminded residents.

Despite news of a possible outbreak, which spread rapidly and had TV cameras arriving at the outpatient facility nearly as quickly as hazmat responders, some see the brief moment of panic -- and now likely false alarm -- as proof Boston is ready to deal with such a scenario.

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"Every precaution was taken in this case and the patient has now been transported to a Boston hospital," Boston Mayor Joseph Sullivan said in a statement. "I am pleased that several Town of Braintree Departments were able to respond and offer assistance to the DPH and CDC on this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide factual information and updates as they become available."

The news in Boston came on the same day that Texas and CDC officials announced that a Dallas nurse tested positive for Ebola. It's the first case in which the deadly disease has been contracted inside the United States. The nurse had been working in close contact with Thomas Duncan, the Liberian man who died from the disease in Dallas last week.

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