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DART: Woman ill at train station not on Ebola list

DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said the person fell ill with a low-grade fever at the White Rock Station
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins briefs reporters on the latest Ebola developments on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

DALLAS — Officials now say that a woman who fell ill at the Dallas Area Rapid Transit White Rock Station Saturday afternoon is not known to be a part of any Ebola watch list.

DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said the person exited a northbound Blue Line train at the station and spit on the platform. She was earlier reported by DART to have been on a list of individuals being monitored for the often deadly illness. The woman was said to have a low-grade fever at the transit facility in Northeast Dallas.

Lyons initially said that the woman was reported to be a resident of the same Dallas apartment complex where Ebola "patient zero" Thomas Eric Duncan became ill after traveling to the U.S. from Liberia. It was later determined that while she did stay there for a few days some time ago, she was not a resident of that complex.

Duncan died on October 8 and two nurses who treated him are now being treated for the virus.

Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said they were called to the scene because the woman reported being ill from a spider bite on her hand.

"While medics were assessing the patient, she shared information, which included living in the same apartment building as the first confirmed Ebola patient (Mr. Duncan) in addition to being under ordered quarantine. This, coupled with patient presentation, led them to believe they could be dealing with a potential Ebola exposure," Evans said in a statement. "However, since initial patient contact was made, it has been confirmed that not only did this person not live in the same apartment building, but she did not reside in the same apartment complex. It has also been confirmed that she is not on ANYONE'S Ebola watch list [emphasis his], and therefore not under any issued quarantine[.]"

The woman in Saturday's incident was being taken to a hospital for an evaluation.

Hazardous materials teams from the fire department were dispatched to the station at 7333 East Northwest Highway, which serves the Blue Line trains along with connecting bus routes. Emergency personnel were wearing protective gear.

"She's the sixth person who's thrown up at a DART facility today," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "That is just part of public transportation that I was unaware of, but that does happen."

Lyons said DART did not have an exact number of passengers who threw up, but said it was at least two "and wouldn't be surprised if it was one or more."

"Welcome to the cold and flu season (and perhaps an overabundance of corny dogs during the Fair)," Lyons said. "When that happens we move customers from the vehicle, isolate it, and clean it consistent with our established protocols."

White Rock Station was closed to bus and rail service for a few hours Saturday afternoon; trains scheduled to stop at the station did not stop there until the situation was resolved.

Lyons said the train used by the customer would be removed from service "and cleaned consistent with our established protocols for cleaning hazardous materials."

On Friday, DART said two of its employees "have been connected with persons who have been exposed to or are carrying the Ebola virus." The transit agency said both employees are considered low risk by the Centers for Disease control because neither had direct contact with any known Ebola patients.

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