A second, “more conclusive” test on a Fort Hood, Texas, soldier found dead less than a week after returning from West Africa showed no presence of the Ebola virus, base officials said in a Tuesday night news release.
The man, whose name has not been released, was found Tuesday outside his residence in nearby Killeen. Local and military police initially blocked off the area and donned hazardous-material suits, but Army medical officials Tuesday night “notified national, state and local officials that there is no evidence of a public health threat,” the release states.
The soldier returned stateside Jan. 7 and had been granted emergency leave from the standard 21-day quarantine, called “controlled monitoring” by the Defense Department, for family reasons, a base spokesman said Tuesday. The soldier had been reporting his medical status twice daily to medical officials during his leave.
Emergency leave from the post-deployment quarantine is covered by the Nov. 14Joint Chiefs instruction outlining the policy, Troops can be granted leave in the aftermath of the death of an immediate family member; to care for a sick or dying family member; or if “failure to return home places a severe or unusual hardship on the service member or their immediate family.”
Those taking the leave must be cleared by a medical professional, the guidance states.
An autopsy has been ordered to try to determine what caused the 24-year-old soldier’s death. A Fort Hood spokesman told The Associated Press that the soldier had not been in contact with Ebola patients.
The incident remains under investigation by local police, according to the news release.