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New Post Arrival Ebola Monitoring of West Africa Travelers

( After nine documented Ebola cases in the United States (New York, Texas, Maryland, Georgia and Nebraska) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that public health authorities will begin post arrival monitoring of travels originating in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea. The three countries are those with the fastest spreading as well as the most cases worldwide. Although six of the nine have recovered, two are in treatment and one,  has died. Among those who have contracted Ebola, three were doctors, two were hospital workers, one aid worker, one missionary, one visitor and a television news cameraman.

The travelers will arrive at one of the five US airports where entry screening is being conducted. The screening will be carried out by Customs and Border Patrol and along with the CDC.  This active post-arrival screening will apply to all travelers coming from the four countries, those without symptoms will be followed up daily by state and local health departments for 21 days from their departure from West Africa.

Six states (New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and Georgia), where approximately 70% of incoming travelers are headed, have already taken steps to plan and implement active post-arrival monitoring which will begin on Monday, October 27.  Active post-arrival monitoring will begin in the remaining states in the days following.   CDC is providing assistance with active post-arrival monitoring to state and local health departments, including information on travelers arriving in their states, and upon request, technical support, consultation and funding.

Active post-arrival monitoring is an approach in which state and local health officials maintain daily contact with all travelers from the three affected countries for the entire 21 days following their last possible date of exposure to Ebola virus. Twenty-one days is the longest time it can take from the time a person is infected with Ebola until that person has symptoms of Ebola.

Specifically, state and local authorities will require travelers to report the following information daily:  their temperature and the presence or absence of other Ebola symptoms such as headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, or abnormal bleeding; and their intent to travel in-state or out-of-state. In the event a traveler does not report in, state or local public health officials will take immediate steps to locate the individual to ensure that active monitoring continues on a daily basis.

In addition, travelers will receive a CARE (Check And Report Ebola) kit at the airport that contains a tracking log and pictorial description of symptoms, a thermometer, guidance for how to monitor with thermometer, a wallet card on who to contact if they have symptoms and that they can present to a health care provider, and a health advisory infographic on monitoring health for three weeks.

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