BREAKING: Woman in Portland, Oregon Hospitalized For Ebola Symptoms

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Breaking news: according to an article from Portland Live:  A Liberian woman who recently arrived in Portland and was monitoring herself for Ebola symptoms under a voluntary program was whisked to the hospital at mid-day Friday with a high temperature.

She was taken to Providence Milwaukie Hospital, where she is in isolation and being tested for the disease, which is highly infectious and has killed thousands of people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“We had hoped this wouldn’t happen,” said Dave Underriner, regional chief executive for Providence Health & Services. “We’ve done a lot of work to prepare for an Ebola case.”

Although state and county health officers declined to provide details about the patient’s background, a source told The Oregonian she arrived from Liberia on Tuesday evening.

Physicians don’t know whether the woman has the disease or another infection. She could have the flu or even malaria. State and county health officials said she poses no risk to the public and that the system worked like clockwork.

Since arriving in Portland, the woman had been taking her temperature twice a day and reporting to the Multnomah County Health Department. Until Friday, her temperature had been normal, said Dr. Katrina Hedberg, state health officer. But in the morning it spiked.

“It got our attention because it was was over 102 degrees,” said Dr. Paul Lewis, health officer for Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties.

The county sent medics to her home, including Dr. Jonathan Jui, Multnomah County’s emergency services medical director. Dressed in full protective gear, from his head to fingertips to toes, he examined her and decided she should be hospitalized.

She was taken to Milwaukie, which had been established by Providence as an Ebola training center and is fully staffed for treating an infected patient. Underriner said she was ushered into the hospital through a “secured” pathway far from other patients.

She is now being treated in isolation by medical personnel who all volunteered for the assignment. The virus is highly infectious but it can only be transmitted through bodily fluids, such as sweat, urine, semen and saliva.

Physicians will draw a blood sample, then triple package it according to biohazard regulations for shipment to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta or another CDC lab. Only selected labs in the United States are equipped to run Ebola tests.

If the test is negative, another will probably be done in three days. Often the virus doesn’t show up until the person has been symptomatic for 72 hours.

It could take a day to get the woman’s blood sample to the CDC, Lewis said. The test results take about four hours.

Gov. John Kitzhaber is staying up-to-date on the situation through reports from state and local health officials, he said in a statement.

“Local health departments, hospitals, health care providers and first responders have been working together to ensure the state is prepared,” the statement said, “and earlier this week, health officials and I outlined protocols for just this type of situation. The protocols are intended to both protect the health and safety of Oregonians and get people the care they need.”

The people with whom the woman was staying with in Portland have agreed to voluntary quarantine in their own home until the results of the blood test are known. The woman who was hospitalized has been free to leave to travel around Portland since she arrived.

“This person’s movement was not restricted because there’s no rationale for it,” Lewis said. “She had no symptoms.”

Based on CDC guidelines, she was considered to be a low risk. “She did not have any known contact with Ebola patients,” Hedberg said.

Besides this woman, one other person in the Portland area is also being monitored for Ebola symptoms.

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