US imposes 21-day monitoring of travelers from Ebola-affected countries

23 Oct 14

UNITED STATES

Travelers from three West African nations hit by the Ebola outbreak will be required to report their temperatures and other health conditions every day for a three-week period after arriving in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday. The CDC program is designed to identify people with symptoms of Ebola to reduce chances that the virus will spread.

The CDC’s move follows an announcement earlier this week that the Department of Homeland Security will require all travelers flying from any of the three countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – to enter the U.S. only via one of five airports set up for enhanced health screening.

The CDC monitoring will cover everyone whose travels originate from the three West African countries, regardless of nationality. 

The program will be launched Oct. 27 in six states that the CDC says receive 70 percent of the travelers in question – Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It will be rolled out soon in other states where travelers from the three countries are residing, the CDC said.

Travelers entering the U.S. from the three countries will be required to:

  • Provide telephone numbers, addresses, email addresses and other contact information so that officials can keep tabs on their whereabouts.
  • Report daily to state or local authorities on their temperature as well as the presence or absence of possible Ebola symptoms such as headaches, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhea, among others.
  • Self-monitor using a CARE (Check And Report Ebola) kit they will be given to help them identify and log possible symptoms.

If travelers do not report their conditions as required, state or local officials will attempt to locate them to resume daily monitoring.

The monitoring will continue for 21 days following a traveler’s arrival from one of the Ebola-affected countries. Twenty-one days is the longest it can take for a person infected with Ebola to begin showing symptoms.

“The bottom line here is that we have to keep up our guard against Ebola,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a teleconference with reporters.

BAL Analysis: Travelers of all nationalities flying to the U.S. from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone should prepare for daily post-travel monitoring upon arrival.

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