CDC: New limits advised for those at high Ebola risk

Frank Eltman
Associated Press

New York – — U.S. health officials are recommending that people who are at highest risk for coming down with Ebola avoid commercial travel or attending large public gatherings, even if they have no symptoms.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the updated advice to state and local officials on Monday.

The CDC guidance comes after the governors of New York and New Jersey announced mandatory quarantines for medical workers returning from three West African countries plagued by the worst Ebola outbreak in world history. Illinois and Maryland have announced quarantines for health workers at high risk for getting the disease, including anyone who's touched an Ebola patient's body fluids without protective gear.

Previously the CDC has recommended screening of travelers from West Africa and monitoring of people for three weeks after they arrive in the United States.

On Monday, the CDC broke down people in the orbit of Ebola into four categories. Those at highest risk are anyone who's had direct contact with an Ebola patient's body fluids.

For those people who are asymptomatic, the CDC recommended restrictions on commercial travel or attendance at public gatherings. The guidelines were not specific about where a person should stay, but officials said they meant home or hospital isolation.

Despite President Barack Obama's appointment of an "Ebola czar" to oversee and coordinate the U.S. response to the deadly virus, some politicians and even an Army general were going against White House guidance on Monday, planning the kinds of quarantines that scientists say only make containing the outbreak more difficult.

Instead, a nurse who volunteered with Doctors Without Borders was forced to spend her weekend in a tent in New Jersey upon her return from Africa, despite showing no symptoms other than an elevated temperature she blamed on "inhumane" treatment at Newark International Airport.

Kaci Hickox was released Monday afternoon from University Hospital in Newark and was being taken to Maine, where she lives.

A statement from the office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said health officials in Maine had been notified of her arrival and that they could decide on her treatment and monitoring.

Meanwhile in Italy, a U.S. Army commander said Monday that he and all his troops returning from Liberia will remain in isolation for 21 days.

Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams told the Associated Press that the decision to isolate returning troops was taken to ensure their family members' comfort, even though he said none are showing symptoms, and he does not believe any soldier under his command is at risk.