Patient Tests Positive For Malaria, THD Waiting For Ebola Test Results

Friday, October 31st 2014, 7:11 pm
By: Tess Maune

Thursday night we learned a Tulsa County resident who recently returned from West Africa was being monitored as a precaution.

That patient was taken to OSU Medical Center in Tulsa Thursday night with one symptom of Ebola. They tested positive for Malaria, but Ebola has still not been ruled out.

10/31/2014 Related Story: Patient In Isolation At Tulsa Hospital Tests Positive For Malaria

The person is currently in isolation.

The health department said the patient is considered low-risk for Ebola, but will remain in isolation until the C.D.C. gives the all clear.

A fever, which is one symptom of Ebola, brought the person to OSU Medical Center Thursday night.

“That, in combination with the fact that they had recently traveled to West Africa, made them a suspect case for Ebola,” said Leanne Stephens with the Tulsa Health Department.

As soon as the patient came down with the fever, Stephens said the person called THD and was taken to the hospital by ambulance and put in isolation.

10/30/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Patient Being Monitored For Ebola

Stephens said the patient tested positive for Malaria, which is treatable and cannot be transmitted person-to-person, only through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Samples from the patient were sent to the C.D.C. for Ebola testing, because Oklahoma is not yet certified to test for the virus.

Stephens said the patient recently returned from West Africa, but had no known exposure to the virus and is considered a low risk.

She said the public shouldn't worry, either.

“The risk to the general public is low because the only way to contract Ebola is through direct contact with bodily fluids of someone who is symptomatic for the disease,” Stephens said.

It's been less than a week since the C.D.C. implemented a Traveler Monitoring Program for anyone returning to the U.S. from West Africa.

Stephens said the person has been self-monitoring and updating the health department twice a day since arriving in Oklahoma.

She also said the patient is the only traveler to return to the state from West Africa since the program was initiated.

The health department expects to get the Ebola test results back sometime this weekend.

Recently we asked Oklahomans what they think about Ebola and nearly 50 percent said they are not happy with the way the government is handling the threat.

In our new exclusive News On 6 poll, we asked, "Do you agree or disagree with how the government has responded to the introduction of the Ebola virus on American soil?"

Of the 949 adults we surveyed, only 12 percent strongly agree and 25 percent somewhat agree with how the government has reacted.

Complete Poll Results

That compares to 15 percent who somewhat disagree and 31 percent who strongly disagree with the federal response.

The rest didn't have an opinion.

More than twice as many Republicans as Democrats strongly disagree with the government's approach, 41 percent to 19 percent.

And 36 percent of Independents are not happy with the government's Ebola response efforts.

Eight out of ten Oklahomans have some degree of concern about Ebola spreading here at home.

Of the people we asked, 23 percent said they're extremely concerned, 15 percent are very concerned while 26 percent are somewhat concerned and 18 percent are slightly concerned.

Only 16 percent are not at all concerned about an outbreak.

An interesting finding: Our poll shows 56 percent of those with incomes under $25,000 a year are extremely or very concerned about the potential for an outbreak while only 24 percent of those earning more than $100,000 are extremely or very concerned.

The survey of 949 likely voters was conducted Oct. 25-29 by, using a dual frame of both cell phones and land lines. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.18 percentage points. Results are weighted by age and party, stratified to Oklahoma likely voter demographics.