Nobody Panic, But There Was an Ebola Scare at the Pentagon

Defense Department file photo

Officials have closed a parking lot at the Pentagon because of a possible case of Ebola.

Pentagon police officers discovered a woman "ill and vomiting" in one of the federal building's parking lots in Arlington, Va. at about 9:10 a.m. on Friday, according to a statement from the Department of Defense. The woman told medics that she had recently visited Africa.

The woman had traveled to the Pentagon by bus, which was headed to a Marine Corps ceremony, Reuters reports, citing an anonymous defense official. The woman was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she was "immediately isolated," a hospital spokeswoman told The Washington Post. Fairfax Country Health Department officials interviewed the patient about her symptoms and travel history to determine whether doctors should administer a test for Ebola.

Fairfax County health officials are attempting to locate people who may have had contact with the woman.

All pedestrian and vehicular traffic was suspended indefinitely around the south parking lot "out of an abundance of caution," according to the statement.

The incident is the latest in a string of Ebola scares in various cities across the country. This week, health officials tried contacting hundreds of passengers who flew on the same plane as a Texas hospital nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola a day after the flight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the risk of infection for people on that flight is extremely low.

Such assurances have not stopped some people from panicking about travel. And it's unlikely they will make the people who rode the bus with the woman to the Pentagon feel comfortable, either. But many people have been treated for Ebola-like symptoms in U.S. hospitals in recent months, generating fear in those who live near them, only to have tests come back negative. So let's wait this one out.

This story has been updated with more information.

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