SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — California health officials say it is unlikely the Ebola virus poses a significant public health risk to the state, and the patient being treated in Sacramento for possible exposure to the deadly pathogen is considered low risk.
California Department of Public Health State Epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez said the risk classification is determined by recent travel to affected countries, exposure to infected patient and presence of symptoms and currently there is no high risk cases of potential Ebola exposure.
During a conference Wednesday, Chavez would not say whether the patient at Kaiser South Sacramento Hospital is a minor or adult, male or female, or what country they may have traveled to.
The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,200 people.
The state health department’s head of Communicable Disease Control, Dr. James Watt said Ebola is not easily transmitted through surfaces, as infection occurs from direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with the blood, or other bodily fluids of infected people.
The virus is not airborne, and despite its mortality rate, it is actually considered to not be a “hearty” virus by infectious disease experts speaking Wednesday.
A specimen from the Kaiser patient was shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta Tuesday, and results are expected within three days, although Watt said the CDC is prioritizing this case for a quick turnaround time in the lab. The test itself only takes a few hours.
In the unlikely event the Sacramento patient does test positive for Ebola health officials have already been in contact with their loved ones, Chavez said.