A Dallas County sheriff's deputy, who had entered an apartment where an Ebola victim had stayed, left the hospital after tests showed he did not have the deadly virus, officials announced Thursday.
Sgt. Michael Monnig was rushed to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas from Frisco on Wednesday. Monnig had gone to an urgent care clinic in Frisco, a suburb of Dallas, and was exhibiting enough symptoms to trigger a preliminary screening, Frisco Fire Chief Mark Piland told reporters.
But tests showed that the deputy did not have the disease, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced. Monnig was discharged on Thursday, the hospital said.
Earlier, the hospital announced that Monnig was in good condition without Ebola symptoms.
"Mr. Monnig's condition is good with no fever, no vomiting, no diarrhea reported," the hospital said in a statement. "His current condition is not consistent with an early-stage Ebola diagnosis."
Christopher Dyer, president of the Dallas County Sheriff's Assn., spoke with Monnig and his wife Thursday.
"He said he's starting to feel a lot better and his fever's still coming down," Dyer said, adding that Monnig's wife "wants to relay to everybody: Let's just take a deep breath. She doesn't want people to get overly concerned before we know what's happening."
Officials on Wednesday said they had sent Monnig to the hospital out of an "abundance of caution" given the case of Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Wednesday of Ebola. Duncan, a Liberian, arrived in Texas on Sept. 20 and stayed in a Dallas apartment with his fiancee and other members of the family.
Monnig, who has spent at least 20 years with the department, went to the apartment Oct. 1 with a sheriff's lieutenant and three deputies, all escorting the county's director of public health and medical director, who were serving a confinement order on the family, Dyer said.
"The Ebola patient had already been hospitalized so the deputy did not have direct contact with him. All known cases of Ebola have occurred through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids or exposure to contaminated objects, such as needles," the Texas health department said.
"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," Dr. David Lakey, Texas health commissioner, said in a statement Thursday. "We understand there's a lot of anxiety in the community, and we hope getting test results back will help calm those fears."
Texas officials are closely monitoring 10 people, including Duncan's relatives who are in quarantine because of the high risk of infection. The state is also checking on 38 others who are considered to be at low risk of infection.
No one in either group has shown any symptoms, officials said.
Muskal reported from Los Angeles and Hennessy-Fiske from Dallas.