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New Mexico woman did not have Ebola

Laboratory tests confirmed that the Ebola virus was not the cause of symptoms that hospitalized a 30-year-old New Mexico woman last week, the state Department of Health said Thursday.

Also Thursday, the two American aid workers who were the first patients ever to be treated for the Ebola virus at a hospital in the United States have been released.

Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which admitted Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol to a specialized isolation ward earlier this month, said both were discharged after about two weeks of treatment.

The Bernalillo County woman went to the University of New Mexico Hospital last week with symptoms that included a sore throat, headache, muscle aches and fever.

She had been in Sierra Leone, Africa, and left there earlier this month.

An Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone has claimed more than 1,200 lives.

The New Mexico patient, who worked as a teacher overseas, returned to the Albuquerque area on Aug. 4 and started to show symptoms on Aug. 15, a Health Department official said last week.

She had no known exposure to Ebola virus.

The only way for the virus to spread is for someone to come in direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola. It is not spread through food, air or water.

The Department of Health, in collaboration with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, made the decision to conduct the laboratory tests out of “an abundance of caution.”

The Health Department didn’t know the woman’s condition Thursday or whether she remained in the hospital.

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