Sheriff's deputy who was hospitalized after indirect contact with Dallas Ebola victim doesn't have the disease

A welcome conclusion to yesterday’s scare. The number of known transmissions inside the United States still stands at zero.

“We have completed testing of the specimen submitted today by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. The result is negative for Ebola,” the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a Twitter post.

The hospital said his current condition is not consistent with an early stage Ebola diagnosis.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas said that Michael West Monnig has no fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Standard lab testing indicated all findings were within normal ranges.

He had no direct contact with Thomas Duncan but did spend a few minutes in Duncan’s apartment after he’d been taken to the hospital. Later he started having stomach pain. If you’re wondering why he’d jump to the conclusion that that might be Ebola, bear two things in mind. One: Multiple people in Spain have been quarantined because the nurse who was infected by a missionary wasn’t treated quickly enough after she first started having mild symptoms. She was out in public for days afterward getting sicker and sicker when she should have been hospitalized early out of an abundance of caution. (Her condition has worsened lately according to one doctor who’s treating her.) This guy acted prudently. Two: Monnig had good reason to worry that indirect transmission was possible. Per the Daily Mail, Dallas authorities warned personnel who’d been in Duncan’s apartment to start bagging up clothes and decontaminating their squad cars — but not until many hours later, after deputies had spent lots of time in those possibly infected clothes and cars. Monnig himself complained to the media about it in an interview last week, before he started having stomach trouble.

Sgt. Monnig and the other deputies were not wearing any type of protective gear when they accompanied county health officials into the apartment late Wednesday to issue an order to the people inside, forbidding them from leaving the apartment…

He says the people inside the apartment were scared and had a lot of questions about what was going on. The deputies’ own fears were heightened when they were told the next day that the squad cars they were driving were being pulled out of service. They were also told to bag up the clothing they were wearing.

“That starts putting question marks in your mind,” Sgt. Monnig said. “You know when you go home and then the next day you start hearing that equipment is being quarantined or asked to be bagged up, that you had on or were driving.

His superiors told him he was at risk. (The fire chief is still trying to figure out how to decontaminate the ambulances.) Go figure that the poor guy took it extra seriously when he got sick a few days later.

The good news is he’s okay, the bad news is that Americans are only getting more nervous about Ebola. A Reason poll finds that 62 percent now expect an outbreak here in the U.S. versus just 40 percent who said so in August. An NBC poll finds 58 percent want flights from countries afflicted by Ebola to be banned from the U.S. temporarily, although as far as I know there are no direct flights. You’d need to start banning flights from European hubs that serve west Africa, which suddenly means a lot of people. And as for the fate of the nurse in Madrid, Spanish authorities now think she contracted the disease not through direct contact with the sick missionary but while she was removing her protective gear. Allegedly, she told a doctor that she absentmindedly touched her face while she still had her gloves on. Not everyone buys that, though: Some of the doctors who’ve treated her claim that the protective gear they have is substandard, with one physician claiming that his gown was so short in the sleeves that it left part of his skin exposed. Supposedly he wasn’t even told that she might have Ebola when he treated her. He’s now been quarantined.