Dr Fitzgerald talks about precautions the public can take against Ebola infection. Dr. James O'Neal, Director of Health Protection (left), Dept of Public Health, Dr Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Georgia Dept of Public Health, and Neil Warren, Cobb County Sheriff talk about an Ebola investigation of an inmate that was arrested early Friday morning. Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health and Cobb County Sheriff's Office update the media on the investigation of a potential Ebola patient during a press conference at the Cobb County Jail, Friday, October 3, 2014.
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC
Photo: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

Cobb jail inmate’s initial Ebola tests negative so far

An inmate in the Cobb County Jail has been tested for Ebola infection, and officials have concluded it’s unlikely he was exposed. But one remaining, and definitive, part of the test will not be complete until late Friday night.

The inmate is Harry Randall Withers of 411 West Constance Road in Suffolk, W.Va., according to his booking sheet at the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren, Withers was arrested Thursday night on a DUI charge and brought into custody at about 3 a.m. Friday.

Withers developed a fever, had flu-like symptoms, and when questioned acknowledged that he had recently traveled to Africa, the Georgia Public Health Department and Cobb County officials said at a press conference Friday afternoon,.

Withers had been to Kenya and Nigeria, and had spent a few hours in Liberia, a country at the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. He flew into the United States through the Washington, D.C., area and landed at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

It remains unclear what he was doing in Cobb.

He was immediately placed into isolation at the jail and the Cobb-Douglas Heath Department was notified. He was then transferred to WellStar Kennestone Hospital.

The jail area where he was held was sanitized twice.

Earlier this afternoon, during the daily Ebola news briefing by CDC and Texas officials on the case in Dallas, a Cox Radio reporter asked about the status of the suspected case in Cobb County.

Beth Bell, director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, replied that she hadn’t heard about a case in Georgia.

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