Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Public health workers are monitoring 105 people in Pennsylvania for Ebola symptoms

Public health workers are monitoring 105 people in Pennsylvania for Ebola symptoms, the state Department of Health announced Monday.

That figure includes everyone in the state known to have arrived from three Ebola-ravaged West Africa countries in the last 21 days, according to new state monitoring rules.

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Tribune wire reports

The department did not immediately indicate how many of the travelers had potential exposure to the virus in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. Those with possible or likely exposure to Ebola could face mandatory travel restrictions or quarantine, state health officials said last week.

They have declined to make available county-by-county tallies of those being monitored. On Friday, Allegheny County health director Dr. Karen Hacker said she knew of no one in the county who would fall under the new monitoring protocols.

Monitoring for any other affected travelers in Western Pennsylvania would fall to the state health department.

The protocols took effect Monday following a directive from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which ordered Pennsylvania and five other states to tighten checks for travelers arriving from the countries most harmed by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The states together account for 70 percent of up to 150 people who arrive each day in the United States from those countries.

In Pennsylvania, state or local health workers will check in with the affected travelers twice a day during the three-week period when an infected person would begin showing symptoms and turn contagious.

The checks will be conducted by phone, in person or via Skype, according to state health officials. Workers will monitor for fevers and watch for symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and unexplained bleeding.

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