Goulburn ebola scare: man cleared

UPDATED 7pm

HEALTH professionals have cleared a man held in quarantine at Goulburn Base Hospital of ebola. 

The man was held in isolation in the accident and emergency section after he presented with a temperature. 

NSW Health has confirmed that the man was never tested for ebola as there were no clinical signs.

Security staff cordoned off A&E and diverted visitors to an alternate entrance. 

It's understood the patient had recently returned from the West African nation of Mali.

A Ministry of Health spokeswoman this evening confirmed the man had been cleared of the deadly condition - which has to date killed 5100 people in West Africa. 

The confirmation followed uncertainty that arose following news of the quarantine. 

The Heath Department spokesperson had previously indicated an Ebola diagnosis was highly unlikely.

Goulburn Base Hospital staff were simply following procedure, she said. 

“If somebody presents with a temperature and they’ve returned from West Africa, they get tested for infectious diseases,” she said.

“It’s very, very unlikely he has Ebola.” 

The spokeswoman would not reveal the man’s age, nor his nationality or city or town of residence, citing patient confidentiality as her motive.

INITIAL REPORT - 5.30pm

A MAN is being held in quarantine at Goulburn Base Hospital and tested for a range of infectious diseases – including Ebola – after presenting with a temperature upon return from West Africa. 

Goulburn Base Hospital security staff are manning a section of accident and emergency purposely cordoned off for use as a quarantine zone. Hospital visitors, meantime, are being diverted to an alternate entrance.

A NSW Health spokeswoman says it’s unlikely the man is infected with Ebola.

It’s understood he recently returned from the West African nation of Mali. 

The tests, the Health spokeswoman says, are precautionary and common in regional hospitals – including Goulburn Base.

Although not listed as an Ebola hot spot by the World Health Organisation [WHO], Mali borders Guinea and is in close proximity to Sierra Leone and Liberia – the two nations with the highest rates of Ebola infection. 

Mali was, however, this week placed on high alert for Ebola by WHO after a 70-year-old national died from the disease. 

By quarantining the man, staff at Goulburn Base Hospital were simply following precautionary procedures, the Health spokeswoman explained.

“If somebody presents with a temperature and they’ve returned from West Africa, they get tested for infectious,” she said.

“It’s very, very unlikely he has Ebola.” 

The spokeswoman would not reveal the man’s age, nor his nationality or city or town of residence, citing patient confidentiality as her motive.

Should he test positive to Ebola, it’s likely he will be transferred to Westmead Children’s Hospital – the centre designated for Ebola treatment and shutdown.

To date, the disease has taken the lives of more than 5100 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali.

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