Victoria has had its first Ebola scare. Health Minister David Davis said the disease was suspected in a one-year-old child who had recently returned from West Africa.
Doctors decided the symptoms needed further investigation.
The baby was placed in an isolated negative pressure room until tests for the deadly Ebola virus came back negative, then discharged.
Authorities believe the child had returned to Australia from West Africa about five days before the symptoms emerged.
It’s not yet known what the child was sick with.
Mr Davis said the West African child was in a stable condition.
Royal Children’s Hospital chief medical officer Dr Peter McDougall said blood and throat swab tests revealed the child did not have the virus.
“It’s a very rapid diagnosis, which occurs within four hours,” he told reporters on Sunday.
Victoria’s health department last week launched a precautionary plan to prepare for any suspected cases of Ebola.
Dr McDougall said the child’s suspected case revealed minor procedural issues in the plan, such as transporting the baby to intensive care, but otherwise it had worked very well.
He said no other patients had been exposed to the child and staff involved were dressed in protective clothing.
Mr Davis said the government would also discuss the procedure with Victoria’s chief health officer, Dr Rosemary Lester, but he was confident it had worked very well.
“(Ebola is) something we would hope doesn’t come to Victoria and the preparation that is required is to account for the fact that it may well at some point come here,” he said.
It is not known whether the child is an Australian resident.