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Student in hospital tests negative for Ebola (Updated)

UPDATED, 6:06 pm. A doctoral student at the School of Public Health who recently returned from researching Ebola in Liberia tested negative for the disease today after being admitted to Yale–New Haven Hospital with Ebola-like symptoms.

Yale President Peter Salovey ’86PhD said in a statement to the Yale community that despite the negative test result, “this student and the other doctoral student who traveled to Liberia will be quarantined for 21 days from their return, as required by the State of Connecticut.”

The news came after an anxious day at Yale and in New Haven after the hospital disclosed the admission of the student this morning. Salovey alerted the Yale community of the situation in a campus-wide e-mail on Thursday afternoon. Salovey emphasized that “there is no indication at this time that the student has contracted the Ebola virus” and that the student was hospitalized out of an “abundance of caution.” Salovey added that the two students who returned from Liberia reported that they had not come into direct contact with Ebola patients or caretakers and took precautions while in the region.  

But later, at a Thursday afternoon press conference at Yale–New Haven Hospital, School of Medicine dean Robert Alpern said the patient “did have contact with one person who eventually developed Ebola.”

At the press conference, Yale–New Haven chief medical officer Thomas Balcezak said the patient—whose name has not been released—had a low-grade fever and that the student’s condition had improved to stable since checking in. Still, he added that doctors could not yet rule out Ebola. “We do not have confirmation that this is not an Ebola case,” he said at the time, adding that there is a 24-hour time frame before a solid diagnosis can be delivered.

Hospital administrators said the admission process went smoothly, and the student was being treated in a negative-pressure isolation room, which is used for highly contagious diseases.

“We are using the [Center for Disease Control] protocol, and have the equipment to give to our people if necessary,” Mayor Toni Harp said at the press conference.

According to Salovey’s e-mail, the doctoral student was one of two researchers from the School of Public Health who had been working in Liberia on computer modeling of the spread of the Ebola virus.

Although the researchers initially decided to voluntarily sequester themselves for duration of the virus’ three-week incubation period upon returning to New Haven, they changed their minds after consulting with a team of experts. 

The Yale Daily News has continuing coverage here


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under ebola, School of Public Health
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