Date
23 August 2017
A US Coast Guard officer performs a temperature check on a new arrival at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Photo: Reuters
A US Coast Guard officer performs a temperature check on a new arrival at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Photo: Reuters

CDC: Returning Ebola volunteers should not be quarantined

United States health officials said medical volunteers returning home from Ebola-stricken countries will be monitored but not quarantined, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called for isolation of people at the highest risk for Ebola infection but said most medical workers returning from the three countries at the center of the epidemic would require daily monitoring without isolation.

The new rules stopped short of controversial mandatory quarantines being imposed by some US states.

New York and New Jersey are among a handful of states to impose mandatory quarantines on returning doctors and nurses amid fears of the virus spreading outside of West Africa, where it has killed nearly 5,000 people in the worst outbreak on record.

The Obama administration’s new guidelines are not mandatory and states will have the right to put in place stricter policies, the report said.

Some state officials, grappling with an unfamiliar public health threat, had called federal restrictions placed on people traveling from Ebola-affected countries insufficient to protect Americans and have imposed tougher measures.

With thousands already dead from Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, concerns are high in the United States about stopping its spread.

On Monday, the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore said it was assessing a potential Ebola patient, who was in isolation.

The hospital, one of three designated Ebola treatment centers in the area, gave no further details.

Earlier in the day in New York City, a five-year-old boy who arrived in the United States from Guinea and was in hospital for screening for fever, tested negative for Ebola.

Frieden warned against turning doctors and nurses who are striving to tackle Ebola in West Africa before it spreads more widely into “pariahs”.

Under new CDC guidelines that spell out four risk categories, most healthcare workers returning from West Africa’s Ebola hot zone would be considered to be at “some risk” for infection, while healthcare workers tending to Ebola patients at US facilities would be seen as “low but non-zero” risk.

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RC/RA

 

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