A health care worker, who had recently returned from Australia's Ebola Treatment Centre in Sierra Leone, was put in isolation Saturday in New Zealand's Christchurch Hospital as officials await confirmation on whether she has contracted the disease.
“Blood samples have been taken for the diagnostic testing and are being sent to Melbourne today. Test results to rule out Ebola are expected sometime on Sunday,” New Zealand’s Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
She is, however, considered to be in a stable condition, media reports said, citing officials.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reportedly said that the treatment center had "strict infection prevention protocols in place" to prevent the virus from spreading. The center, to which Australia gave $25 million, was opened in mid-December and has since discharged 118 patients, including 36, who have recovered from Ebola.
"Based on the patient's symptoms, the Ebola virus needs to be ruled out," Coleman said, according to Stuff.co.nz, adding: "I am advised that it is quite possible they are suffering from gastroenteritis or some other illness such as malaria."
The patient's partner is under self-monitoring while officials have provided assistance to the family, Coleman said.
On Friday, another health care worker was evacuated from Australia's Ebola Treatment Centre after a “clinical incident” and was taken to a hospital in the U.K. to complete a 21-day observation period for Ebola. The person has not yet shown any symptoms of the disease, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The health worker was reportedly exposed to the virus through a needle-stick breach of the protective equipment that is worn by staff while treating patients.
Five other health care workers have been brought back to the U.K. in recent days from Sierra Leone, while three of them have been discharged. One female health care worker had tested positive for the disease and is currently being treated in a high-level isolation unit at London's Royal Free hospital, the Guardian reported, adding that another person is still being tested.
“The three discharged individuals will reside in appropriate private accommodation and will be monitored for any symptoms for the remainder of their incubation period, in line with standard protocols,” Public Health England said, according to the Guardian.
Ebola virus has infected at least 24,350 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since its outbreak in December 2013. Of those, about 10,000 people have died due to the virus, the Journal reported, citing The World Health Organization.