RPT-UPDATE 4-U.S. tightens Ebola monitoring for West African visitors
(Repeats Update 4 to restore story link and graphics link for some subscribers)
By Bill Berkrot
NEW YORK Oct 22 (Reuters) - U.S. health officials unveiled new measures on Wednesday to carry out Ebola monitoring on anyone entering the country from the three nations at the center of a West African epidemic, increasing precautions to stop the spread of the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that beginning Monday, travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will be directed to check in with health officials every day and report their temperatures and any Ebola symptoms for 21 days, the period of incubation for the virus.
The travelers will be required to provide emails, phone numbers and addresses for 21 days, and the information will be shared with local health authorities.
Six states account for nearly 70 percent of all travelers entering the United States from the affected countries: New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Georgia.
The travelers will be required to coordinate with local public health officials if they intend to travel within the United States. If a traveler does not report in, local health officials will take immediate steps to find the person.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden told reporters the active monitoring program will remain in place until the outbreak in West Africa is over. The U.N. World Health Organization's latest figures on Wednesday showed at least 4,877 people out of 9,936 cases have died in the outbreak, the worst on record.
"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," Frieden said. "That will reduce the chance that Ebola will spread from an ill person through close contact and to healthcare workers." Continued...