Belfast patient tests negative for Ebola

A patient in Belfast has tested negative for the Ebola virus, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has confirmed.

The person, who recently returned from west Africa, has already tested positive for malaria.

The patient was being kept in isolation at the Royal Victoria Hospital in the city.

Ebola virus disease (EVD) can be a severe illness. The time from infection to onset of symptoms is two to 21 days.

Dr Lorraine Doherty, an assistant director of public health in charge of health protection at the agency, said: “Tests have come back negative for Ebola in this patient, but the effective and seamless way in which the case was managed reiterates how important it has been for the health service to prepare for all eventualities.

“This incident has further tested the measures that are in place to deal with a suspected case of Ebola and has shown them to be robust, and it will contribute our continued work in this area.”

The organisation said it is important to note that the likelihood of contracting EVD is extremely low unless the person had come into contact with blood or body fluids of a person with symptoms.

“Therefore we would like to stress that the risk to the public is low.

“There is no change to the current situation in Northern Ireland in that the risk to the public here is very low.”

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