Woman in New Mexico Being Monitored for Ebola

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A 30-year-old woman in New Mexico is in quarantine after displaying possible symptoms of Ebola. Doctors say they the woman probably does not have the deadly illness, but they are not taking any chances.

She's being monitored at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

The woman just returned from west Africa where she was teaching. The woman says as far as she knows, she hasn't been exposed to the virus. Just to be safe, she made sure not to expose others and alerted healthcare providers right away, just as protocol for Ebola dictates.

“Our index of suspicion is relatively low. We think that it’s likely she has another illness but, we want to be extremely careful,” says New Mexico Department of Health’s Dr. Joan Baumbach.

Staff at the hospital wear gowns gloves, eye protection and a face mask when they go in to see her.

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“Because it’s protected health information. Obviously this may change that a little bit but at the same time we are doing everything we can to protect the patients and our staff to make sure that there’s no risk of transmission,” says UNM Hospital Epidemiologist Meghan Brett.

The CDC says Ebola “poses no substantial risk to the U.S. general population."

Ebola isn't contagious until symptoms appear. Even then, the CDC says it is only transmitted through direct contact. A person would have to come into contact with the sick person's blood or body fluids in some way (either directly or through something like a contaminated needle) or have contact with an infected animal. Ebola isn't passed through air or casual contact.

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