CDC investigating potential infectious disease at Barbourville ARH

The hospital is currently open and accepting patients as normal. / (WYMT)

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. (WVLT/WYMT) -- Kentucky officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating a possible infectious disease at Barbourville ARH Hospital.

“We want to assure Kentuckians we are aware of a potential infectious disease and are working collaboratively with the local hospital as well as local, regional, and federal public health authorities to determine not only a possible cause of illness, but any steps that need to be taken to protect the health and wellbeing of our Commonwealth,” said Department Public Health Commissioner Dr. Angela Dearinger.

In a release, Appalachian Regional Healthcare officials did not specify what disease they suspect it might be.

"We cannot comment on specific patient cases due to patient confidentiality," said ARH Spokesperson Melissa Cornett.

Officials said any threat to the general public is being assessed but is believed to be extremely low.

The hospital is currently open and accepting patients as normal.

"Barbourville ARH is working closely with the state health department and the CDC to follow all proper recommendations and current guidelines to ensure our patients receive the best of care, and others within our hospital remain safe," said Cornett.

According to officials with Union College, a student is being treated in the hospital's emergency room and is under quarantine.

Hospital administrators say they cannot comment on specific patient cases due to privacy laws but told college officials that they have ruled out an airborne illness.

In a statement, Dr. Marcia Hawkins, Union College's president, said that the student did not contract the Ebola virus and did not travel out of the country during the break.

Anyone experiencing signs or symptoms of a viral illness, including fever, nausea, body aches, or lethargy, is encouraged to seek health care immediately.

DPH is following up to inform any hospital worker or close contact of the patient about symptoms to look for in case this illness turns out to be a risk to others.

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