A hospital in northern California reports that it is treating a patient who might have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus.
Kaiser Permanente released a statement Tuesday evening confirming a patient at its South Sacramento Medical Center might have been exposed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention out of Atlanta will test blood samples, the hospital said.
"In order to protect our patients, staff and physicians, even though infection with the virus is unconfirmed, we are taking the actions recommended by the CDC as a precaution, just as we do for other patients with a suspected infectious disease," according to the statement. "This includes isolation of the patient in a specially equipped negative pressure room and the use of personal protective equipment by trained staff, coordinated with infectious disease specialists."
The hospital said safety of patients and staff is a priority.
The patient is in isolation as a precaution, hospital spokesman Edwin Garcia said.
According to the CDC, symptoms of the often fatal illness are fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and lack of appetite. Symptoms might appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to the virus, although eight to 10 days is most common. Ebola can only be spread after symptoms appear.
There is no known cure for the virus, but some patients do recover.
Four West African countries are experiencing an outbreak of Ebola which, according to the CDC, has been the cause of 1,229 deaths this year.
Contributing: KXTV-TV, Sacramento
Doctors Without Borders says West Africa is fighting a war, not with guns and bullets but with experimental drugs and checkpoints, as Ebola takes its deadly toll. Karen Hendren reports. Video provided by Reuters Newslook