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Patient in Brampton hospital isolation unit tests negative for Ebola

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BRAMPTON, Ont. - A patient who was placed in the Isolation unit of a Toronto-area hospital has tested negative for the often deadly Ebola virus.

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins broke the news in a statement he issued this morning.

"I can now confirm a recent case that underwent testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg was found to test negative for Ebola virus disease," he said in a release.

The person was admitted to Brampton Civic Hospital with flu-like symptoms after returning from Nigeria, one of the West African nations currently battling an Ebola outbreak that has killed nearly 1,000 people.

Hoskins says in the release that he is glad to hear the patient is doing well, and wishes him a speedy recovery.

Initial symptoms of Ebola are similar to several more common diseases, such as the flu, and health care providers have been advised to be on heightened alert for Ebola cases.

The director of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto says it's probably not the last time a patient in Canada will undergo a similar kind of precautionary testing.

"We will see occasional people who come from West Africa and have other illnesses and need to be managed safely while we make diagnoses," Allison McGeer says. "There's not a huge amount of traffic between West Africa and most places in Canada, but there is traffic. And people get influenza all the time."

Meanwhile, Hoskins says the "system worked as it should" in the current case.

"Health professionals responded to the alert appropriately, by identifying an individual who potentially may have been affected, taking enhanced infection-prevention precautions, and testing," he said in the release.

Hoskins adds "Ontarians should know that we are fully prepared should any cases appear in the province. This situation was the result of all our protocols working effectively."

Transmission of Ebola from person to person is largely through direct contact with blood and body fluids.

There is no cure for the virus, which often kills more than half of its victims.

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