COBB COUNTY, Ga. - The Cobb County Sheriff's Office says final Ebola tests have come back negative for a Cobb County Jail inmate.
Friday, jail officials told Channel 2 Action News they were no longer accepting inmates after an inmate developed a fever. The man told jail officials that he recently traveled to Africa.
The man, identified as 35-year-old Harry Randall Withers, was arrested overnight for DUI.
"I can tell you from the very beginning, from the first moment, this case was handled in absolutely perfect manner. This man was isolated immediately. He was never exposed to other people,” said Georgia Department of Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald.
The CDC conducted the final testing Friday evening after Cobb County law enforcement arrested a suspect who reported flu-like symptoms along with recent travel to Liberia.
Other Cobb County inmates who were on lockdown from the incident Friday told Channel 2 they were very concerned.
Aaron Jones spent his final few hours in the Cobb County Jail on lockdown. He said inmates were not told why, but were made to stay put for an hour and a half. Jones said it wasn't until the local news came on that they realized it was because of another inmate who was being tested for the Ebola virus.
"We were all kind of freaking out to be honest," Jones said. “I don't want to be here. I don't want Ebola."
Jail officials have not confirmed Withers’ claims of travelling to Kenya and Nigeria. It was little comfort for those being held in such tight quarters.
"Why didn't they tell us so we could at least wrap our faces up with something to protect ourselves,” Jones said.
The news comes as officials announce they are testing another potential Ebola patient at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.
Symptoms of Ebola include:
- Fever (greater than 101.5°F)
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal (stomach) pain
- Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.
Pres. Obama visits CDC amid Ebola outbreak
President Barack Obama traveled to Atlanta Sept. 16 to meet with officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in DeKalb County.
"If the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people affected, with profound economic, political and security implications for all of us," Obama said Tuesday after briefings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University.
"It's a potential threat to global security if these countries break down," Obama said, speaking of the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. At least 2,400 people have died, with Liberia bearing the brunt.
The World Health Organization warned that the number of Ebola cases in West Africa could start doubling every three weeks and that the crisis could end up costing nearly $1 billion to contain. Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, said the global response was falling short. "The window of opportunity to contain this outbreak is closing," Liu told a meeting Tuesday at the United Nations in Geneva.
Nearly 5,000 people have become ill from Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal since it was first recognized in March. WHO says it anticipates that figure could rise to more than 20,000.