New York person's remains test negative for Ebola

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[November 20, 2014]  (Reuters) - An Ebola test on the body of a person who died of an apparent heart attack came back negative for the virus on Wednesday, New York City health officials said.

The deceased, who was not identified, had recently come to the United States from West Africa, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said in a statement. The person had been in one of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak just 18 days earlier, the statement said.

"Before death, this individual showed no symptoms of Ebola. However, due to travel history within the 21-day incubation period and an abundance of caution, an Ebola test will be performed on this individual's remains," the department said.

On Wednesday, the test came back negative, department spokesman Levi Fishman told Reuters.

Fishman declined to provide any information about the person, including gender, location and time of death.

The New York Times reported that the individual was a woman and that she was pronounced dead at a Brooklyn hair salon at around 2:30 p.m. EST Tuesday.

Last Tuesday, Dr. Craig Spencer, who worked with Ebola patients in Guinea, was discharged from a New York City hospital after recovering from Ebola following his Oct. 23 diagnosis.

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Medical experts say Ebola can be transmitted only through the bodily fluids of a sick person with symptoms.

The World Health Organization on Friday said the Ebola outbreak, which is the deadliest on record, has resulted in 5,177 deaths out of 14,413 cases, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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