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Potential Ebola patient transferred to Baltimore hospital tests negative for virus

A potential Ebola patient taken to University of Maryland Medical Center on Monday night was the first in the state whose case prompted a blood test for the deadly virus. The results were negative for Ebola, state health officials said Tuesday morning.

Though there have been many scares at hospitals around Maryland and the country where patients who have recently traveled to Africa exhibit symptoms that suggest Ebola, blood tests are rarely conducted to rule out the virus.

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The patient had traveled to Maryland on Sunday, and on Monday afternoon called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting a "symptom of concern," a state health department spokesman said. The CDC contacted Maryland health officials, who arranged for the patient to be transported to the Baltimore hospital.

State officials would not reveal other details, citing patient privacy.

The state's public health lab in Baltimore began processing the patient's blood sample Monday evening, and results indicating that Ebola was not present were confirmed early Tuesday morning, officials said. Maryland is one of 14 states capable of testing for Ebola, in tandem with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also tests each sample at its headquarters in Atlanta.

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CDC officials said early this month they had only conducted 15 Ebola tests amid more than 100 suspected cases of the virus. Updated figures were not immediately available.

Health providers can typically rule out Ebola based on a patient's symptoms and travel history before a blood test is necessary.

One Ebola patient has been treated in Maryland -- Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who was transferred from Texas to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda. She was released Friday, cleared of the virus.

Maryland announced Monday plans to quarantine and ban from public transit those who may have been exposed to Ebola while in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in West Africa.

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