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Quest Diagnostics To Doctors: Not Accepting Ebola Blood, Patients

DENVER (CBS4) - CBS4 has learned that Quest Diagnostics, the nation's largest diagnostic lab company, has told doctors, hospitals and health care providers nationwide the company will not accept blood samples suspected of being infected with Ebola; and will not knowingly allow any patients suspected of having Ebola into Quest offices.

In a message sent Oct. 11 to hospitals and doctors, Quest Diagnostics said, "Patients with known or suspected Ebola hemorrhagic fever should not be referred to Quest Patient Service Centers or Quest In-Office Phlebotomists for specimen collections of any type."

CBS4 contacted Wendy Horst, a Quest spokesperson. She said, "We have informed clinicians that Quest Diagnostics does not provide Ebola testing and that we recommend that they refer to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information about testing for this virus in the United States."

Quest operates about 2,200 service centers and employs 41,000 people. The multi- billion dollar company says it touches the lives of about 30 percent of American adults every year.

The company bulletin goes on to say, "Patients not previously identified as known or suspect Ebola cases, but presenting to PSC or IOP will be queried about prior travel to an endemic area of Ebola infection. If such travel has occurred, specimens will not be collected and the health care provider will be contacted."

Dr. Daniel Teitlebaum, a Denver-based expert in preventive and occupational medicine, said the Quest notice was "very prudent. That is a very careful decision to protect their own staff. It's also a reflection of the fact that standard blood protocols are not adequate for Ebola samples."

Essentially Quest is saying, "We are not equipped to handle this," said Teitlebaum.

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