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(Reuters) - The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in a U.S. hospital was evaluated initially and turned away, a critical missed opportunity that could result in others being exposed to the deadly virus, infectious disease experts said.
Epidemiologist Anne Rimoin of the University of California Los Angeles was not overly concerned about the time lag, given the fact that Ebola can only spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected patient.
“Until someone becomes very, very ill they are not very contagious,” said Rimoin, who was flying to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday to conduct public health research there. The hospital “probably suspected typhoid or malaria, which is far more common.
Anne Rimoin, PhD, MPH, is an epidemiology professor with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health whose main research focuses on emerging infectious diseases, especially those with animal origins, including ebola, monkeypox and HIV.