CDC announces plans to monitor travelers

CDC announces plans to monitor travelers
In 1793, faced with an epidemic of yellow fever in Philadelphia, Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence and a much respected medical doctor, recommended that all who could should “quit the city.”

     Amid widespread public fear that those infected with Ebola will do just that – leave their home countries and travel -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  announced on Oct. 22 that health officials will monitor anyone whose journey originated in countries at the epicenter of the epidemic, specifically, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.   
     As of Oct. 19, the World Health Organization reported a total of 9,936 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola in five countries -- Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain and the U.S. -- and two previously affected countries (Nigeria and Senegal). A total of 4,877 deaths have been reported.
     In the U.S., health screenings by Customs and Border Protection and the CDC are already underway for travelers arriving at five airports. 
     But under the new plan, state and local officials will maintain daily contact with travelers from the three African countries for 21 days, “the longest time it can take from the time a person is infected with Ebola until that person has symptoms of Ebola,” according to the CDC.  
     Here is how the monitoring program will work:
  • Travelers will receive a Check and Report Ebola [CARE]  kit at the airport. The CARE kit 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 a health advisory infographic on monitoring health for three weeks.”
  • Every day, the travelers must report “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,” according to the CDC. If they want to travel – either in state or out of state – they must notify officials.
  • If they do not report in as required, state and or local officials will start looking for them to ensure monitoring continues.
  • If someone shows symptoms, officials will isolate and evaluate the person. The individual involved will be treated at a hospital where medical personnel have been trained to receive Ebola patients.


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