More Americans are being watched for signs of Ebola, under a new policy announced Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in which all travelers coming to the United States from Ebola-affected West African nations will be monitored for 21 days. A nurse in the Seattle area is being monitored for symptoms of the virus and is voluntarily restricting her movements. Nine people in Connecticut, many of whom recently traveled to West Africa, are also under close watch.
The Seattle nurse returned from Africa where she had treated patients with Ebola. She will be monitored through the 21-day incubation period, though health officials told the Seattle Times the nurse has so far shown no sign of infection. Health authorities have quarantined a family of six in West Haven, all of whom returned Saturday from one of the Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa. The six family members, who are staying with friends, have shown no signs of the disease and are in their fifth day of quarantine, authorities told the New Haven Register. In addition, three Yale University students are being monitored for Ebola symptoms and have been told to self-quarantine, a spokesman for the State Public Health Department told the New York Times.
Until this week, health officials at five international airports in the country have screened passengers on flights arriving from the epicenters of the Ebola outbreak – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – for symptoms, but additional monitoring only occurred if a person had symptoms that could indicate Ebola, such as a fever. About 150 travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone arrive in the U.S. every day.
Despite the extremely low infection rate in the U.S. and evidence suggesting the country does not face a deadly outbreak, some have embraced the hysteria over Ebola. But health experts maintain that the risk of contracting the virus in the U.S. is almost zero.