Tags: Barack Obama | Ebola Outbreak | West Africa | Ebola | travelers | self-monitor

W. African Travelers in US Told to Self-Monitor for Ebola

By    |   Thursday, 23 October 2014 02:11 PM

Responding to increasing pressure from the public and Congress, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Obama administration are ramping up their response to the deadly Ebola virus epidemic ravaging West Africa.

While 70 legislators are asking for a travel ban to be imposed on travelers from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, where the outbreak is raging, the White House and the CDC have instead started new hospital, travel, and self-monitoring guidelines.

The three-prong program includes channeling West Africans arriving in the United States into only five international airports, where screening takes place and their temperatures are taken. They are told they must take their temperatures twice daily, monitor themselves for other symptoms, and report daily to health authorities for 21 days after arrival — the incubation period for the Ebola virus, The Hill reports.

Starting Monday, when West African travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone arrive at the five airports — JFK, Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare, and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson — they will be issued a kit containing a pictorial description of Ebola symptoms, a thermometer, and instructions on how to self-monitor, and will be informed that they are required to report to health authorities daily for a checkup, Reuters reports.

In addition, travelers will be given a tracking log, be required to provide phone numbers, emails, and addresses for themselves and a friend or relative in the U.S. and, should they plan to travel within the country, to inform health officials. If they don't check in, they will be tracked down by health officials for monitoring, according to Reuters.

The CDC also is issuing new guidelines for healthcare workers to wear protective clothing while working with suspected Ebola cases — to don or remove the hazmat gear only in the presence of specialists, and expose no skin, The Hill reported.

Violation of quarantine protocols has been blamed for the infection of two Dallas nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who were involved in the treatment of Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Oct. 8 in Dallas. The two nurses are being treated and appear to be recovering from their infections, Reuters notes.

"These new measures I'm announcing today will give additional levels of safety so that people who develop symptoms of Ebola are isolated early in the course of their illness," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said, Reuters reported. "That will reduce the chance that Ebola will spread from an ill person through close contact and to healthcare workers."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, "There has been a stepped-up level of activity here at the federal level to deal with this issue," The Hill stated.

However, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., noting that these measures would not have stopped Duncan from entering the U.S., said in a statement, "I’m glad that the Obama administration is showing more concern about the possibility of people infected with Ebola entering the United States and spreading this deadly disease. But the administration must do more to protect Americans.

"President Obama has a real solution at his disposal under current law and can use it at any time to temporarily ban foreign nationals from entering the United States from Ebola-ravaged countries. The vast majority of Americans strongly support such a travel moratorium and I urge the president to take every step possible to protect the American people from danger."

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Responding to increasing pressure from the public and Congress, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Obama administration are ramping up their response to the deadly Ebola virus ravaging West Africa.
West Africa, Ebola, travelers, self-monitor
Thursday, 23 October 2014 02:11 PM
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