UPDATE at 2:35 p.m., Monday, March 23, 2015: The patient has tested negative for Ebola, a health official says. Details at the bottom. First posted at 7:03 a.m.
A traveler to an Ebola-stricken nation who was being monitored in Santa Barbara County as a precaution was sent to the Los Angeles area over the weekend after the patient developed a fever, a health official said.
Should we be concerned that this deadly epidemic has finally reached L.A? Not just yet.
The deputy director of Community Health for Santa Barbara County, Susan Klein-Rothschild, said, "This is a low-risk situation and highly unlikely to be Ebola."
She said both the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control were notified of the situation and, after conferring with those officials, the decision was made to send the patient south.
Fever is one of several symptoms related to Ebola. But it's not a definitive signal.
The top Ebola-prepared hospitals in Greater L.A. include Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, Kaiser Permanente's Los Angeles Medical Center in Hollywood and Orange County's UC Irvine Medical Center in the city of Orange.
"Today we had an individual in our Ebola monitoring program who developed a fever and displayed signs of illness," Klein-Rothschild said on Sunday. "A decision was made to take all precautionary measures and transport the patient to the hospital for observation."
Santa Barbara television station KEYT says the patient is a woman who had traveled to Africa.
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After close monitoring the fever was discovered, Klein-Rothschild said. KEYT reported the woman was isolated before being transferred to the L.A. area.
UPDATE at 2:35 p.m., Monday, March 23, 2015: Klein-Rothschild today said the patient has tested negative for Ebola. She told us the person would be headed back to Santa Barbara today.
However, as a precaution, medical professionals would continue to keep an eye on the patient for 21 days, she said.