An American doctor being monitored in Nebraska for possible exposure to Ebola has been cleared and is no threat to the public, health officials say.
The doctor, who did not want to be identified, was monitored for 21 days before physicians determined the patient had not developed the deadly disease and could be released from care, Nebraska Medicine said in a statement Saturday.
“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 Dr. Ted Cieslak, an infectious diseases specialist with Nebraska Medicine.
There was fear the doctor had been exposed to the virus while providing medical assistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The person was sent to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, which has one of the nation’s few dedicated biocontainment units, on December 29.
Federal, state and county public health officials monitored the patient in a secure area not accessible to the public.
DRC is going through one of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history. The outbreak began August 1 and has left more than 300 people dead, with 582 confirmed cases recorded as of Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization. Another 48 cases are considered probable.
Last month, WHO said protests in Congo over election delays and a deteriorating security situation were interfering with its field teams’ ability to carry out Ebola vaccinations in some areas.
This isn’t the first time possible Ebola patients were treated at Nebraska Medical Center. Nebraska Medicine treated three patients with Ebola in 2014. In 2015, five Americans were monitored at the center after being exposed to the virus in West Africa, but none developed the disease.