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Santa Barbara Resident Being Monitored For Possible Exposure To Ebola In 'LA Area'

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A Santa Barbara County resident who has been monitored since returning from a country experiencing the Ebola epidemic was headed to a "Los Angeles area" hospital tonight as a precaution after developing a fever, a public health official said.

"Today we had an individual in our Ebola monitoring program who developed a fever and displayed signs of illness," said Deputy Director of Community Health for Santa Barbara County Susan Klein-Rothschild.

"While this is a low risk situation and highly unlikely to be Ebola, after conferring with the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, a decision was made to take all precautionary measures and transport the patient to the hospital for observation."

She declined to release the gender of the patient or the hospital to which they were to be transported. She would only say it is in "the Los Angeles area."

A TV station in Santa Barbara reported the patient is a woman.

The patient was identified upon return from a country with an active Ebola epidemic, Klein-Rothschild said. "In concert with established protocols,
there is an extensive screening interview and monitoring for symptoms multiple times daily during the potential Ebola virus incubation period of 21 days."

The patient was monitored at home.

It was during that monitoring that public health officials observed the fever and signs of illness, prompting them to isolate the patient and arrange
transport to a hospital for "close monitoring, testing and implementation of full infection control measures," she said. "The individual will remain in the hospital until results of testing are completed."

The hospitalization is "in an abundance of caution," and "to protect the traveler and the community," Klein-Rothschild told City News Service.

"There is no risk to the community. Any close contacts have been identified an notified."

Countries where Ebola is active are Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the Centers for Disease Control website.

An update on the Santa Barbara County situation will be provided after 10 a.m. Monday, Klein-Rothschild said.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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