Soldier at Fort Benning tests negative for Ebola

Published: Oct. 17, 2014 at 9:19 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2014 at 2:51 AM EDT
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FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - The soldier who fueled speculation of a possible case of Ebola at Fort Benning has tested negative for the infectious virus, according to a media release from the military post.

"While we are relieved this Soldier does not have Ebola, this was an opportunity for Fort Benning to not only test our systems, but exceed protocols to better ensure the safety and well-being of our Soldiers and those in the workforce who support them," Maneuver Center of Excellence Chief of Staff Col. Patrick Donahoe said.

The soldier had traveled to Nigeria, one of the countries battling the current mass outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, prior to arriving at Fort Benning, and had an elevated temperature, which forced his isolation.

"Per protocol, the Soldier will be moved from isolation into the general patient area of the hospital, and continue to be monitored until he is medically cleared. At that time, he will be released back to the 30th AG to resume training," the statement said.

Fort Benning also assures that no workers at the emergency room were at risk "as none had any contact with the patient."

Earlier Saturday, the soldier in isolation at Martin Army Community Hospital has "improved significantly" one day after fueling rumors in Columbus that the post had a suspected case of Ebola.

"Today, the Soldier's temperature has returned to within normal range, which is completely inconsistent with the disease process associated with Ebola," MACH Commander Col. Scott Avery said in the statement.

Avery also said the soldier "does not pose a risk to others."

The unidentified soldier, was processed as a new arrival to the 30th Adjunct General Reception Battalion, and was quickly identified as having traveled to one of the five countries of concern on Oct. 14. He reported with an elevated temperature on Oct. 16 and was isolated per protocol.

A statement from Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, Commanding General of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning addressed the rumors on Friday:

During standard screening procedures, we identified a newly arrived Soldier with a recent travel history to Nigeria. The Soldier displayed an elevated temperature, and while he is not likely to have the Ebola virus, we have initiated necessary protocols out of an abundance of caution.

The Soldier has been isolated and is being monitored, even though it's likely that his fever can be attributed to immunizations he received during in-processing.

We are currently in coordination with medical and CDC professionals to ensure testing is accurate and complete.

Ebola has been a national cause of concern in recent weeks, following the death of Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas at the end of September.

Since his death, two American nurses have tested positive for the deadly virus, and hundreds of people have come in contact with them and since been monitored or quarantined.

Healthcare workers who had worked with Duncan have since been asked not to travel.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been 8,997 confirmed and suspected reports of Ebola across the world; there have been 4,493 Ebola-related deaths reported.

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