Dallas sheriff’s deputy discharged after Ebola test comes back negative

Posted at 4:48 PM, Oct 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-08 17:35:01-04
(CNN) — A test to see whether a Dallas sheriff’s deputy has Ebola came back negative, state health officials said Thursday.

Tests of a specimen from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where he was treated, were negative for the deadly virus, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.

“The professionals at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas are relieved for Deputy Michael Monnig’s family and friends that the blood test has been returned quickly and was negative for Ebola,” the hospital said in a statement.

A short time later, hospital spokeswoman Candace White said that physicians had discharged Monnig.

“The family has asked for privacy at this time,” White added.

Word of the test result is welcome news a day after the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Texas Ebola patient who was the first person diagnosed with the virus on American soil.

The deputy had reported being inside the Dallas apartment where Duncan had been staying and having “some contact” with Duncan’s family members, Frisco Fire Chief Mark Piland told reporters.

Ebola spreads through infected bodily fluids.

Health officials earlier had said there was little chance Monnig had Ebola because he never had direct contact with Duncan and didn’t have a fever.

“The risk is extremely low because this individual didn’t have contact with the Ebola patient, but we want to err on the side of caution,” said Dr. David Lakey, Texas health commissioner. “We understand there’s a lot of anxiety in the community, and we hope getting test results back will help calm those fears.”

Monnig was a first responder and had spent about 30 minutes in the apartment, his son told CNN affiliate KTVT. He woke up Wednesday feeling sore and fatigued and with a stomachache.

“With the situation, what’s happened, he just decided it would be better to be safe than sorry,” Logan Monnig told KTVT.

The deputy went to get checked out at a CareNow clinic for help with his stomach pain.

It wasn’t long before he called his wife with a startling report, CNN affiliate WFAA reported.

“His exacts words were, ‘I’m at CareNow, and all hell’s about to break loose,'” Lisa Monnig told WFAA. “And I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘I hear helicopters overhead.'”

One early report from officials about the case described the possibility of a second Ebola patient who’d been in direct contact with Duncan. Another said he’d been to West Africa. Neither turned out to be true.

Soon, Monnig was in ambulance on the way to the same hospital that cared for Duncan.

There, he was placed into isolation, WFAA said, and his family wasn’t allowed to see him.

“I understand that there’s procedures and protocols that need to be followed. I just think with all the media attention, it’s just been blown out of proportion,” his wife told WFAA.

The real diagnosis?

His wife told WFAA he has an upper respiratory virus.