COLUMBUS, Ohio — Health departments in Ohio are monitoring 44 residents who have a travel history to countries with Ebola cases, Ohio officials said Monday.
The deadly virus emerged in 2014 in West Africa, infecting people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. A new epidemic was declared in Guinea, and there are also currently people infected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At least nine people have died.
Ohio is not alone in monitoring people with travel histories. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said health departments were quarantining 11 people who had come to the state from the affected countries.
“They assess their exposure risk, they educate them about what symptoms they might have, and they quarantine those at high risk for 21 days, though we have not had a single person in Kentucky that is at high risk,” he said last week.
Travelers from the impacted countries are being “funnelled” to six U.S. airports “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC said the administration’s goal is to “end these outbreaks before they grow into epidemics,” a Feb. 26 statement said.
Three cases had been confirmed, which was the first time the disease made an appearance since the 2014-2016 outbreak. During those two years, 11,000 died and 28,000 cases were confirmed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
A WHO Investigation found a nurse in Guinea died from the virus on Jan. 28. Six people who attended her funeral reported symptoms soon after, and two more people died.
In Guinea, 3,632 people have been vaccinated for Ebola since Feb. 23, a tool that officials didn’t have five years ago.
The White House announced Feb. 16 officials are working with leaders in Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia to limit the spread to neighboring countries.
White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klein, formerly the Ebola Czar during the Obama administration, has pledged the Biden administration will do "whatever we can to keep the latest Ebola outbreaks from escalating." On March 15, he described the reports that an Ebola survivor may have sexually transmitted the virus in Guinea five years after recovery as "stunning" news.
The Ohio Department of Health said Monday the state will monitor people for 21 days.
"Ohio is currently monitoring 44 travelers who have returned to Ohio from Ebola-affected countries," spokesperson Alicia Shoults told Spectrum News 1. "None have reported symptoms."
Ebola, classified as a level-four organism at the CDC, is a deadly virus that’s spread through body fluids, or via objects such as bedding. It can also be transmitted to humans from infected bats or primates. According to the CDC, symptoms appear anywhere between two days to three weeks after infection.
People who are infected have experienced severe fever, vomiting, hemorrhaging, bleeding, bruising, diarrhea, and fatigue. In the late stages of infection, skin rashes, red eyes and hiccups can also occur.
Not front page news, but for those of us involved in the 2014-15 Ebola response work, this is really stunning:https://t.co/ysfDkL4aJA— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) March 15, 2021