INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 29, 2014) – State health officials are monitoring six people in Indiana for Ebola symptoms in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All are considered low risk and traveled from West Africa. Indiana was one of the first states to begin “direct active monitoring” of returning travelers. Gov. Mike Pence and the Indiana State Department of Health implemented the policy on Oct. 16.
Monitoring includes twice-daily temperature and symptom checks by local health agencies. The state health department then records the results.
Two patients have completed the monitoring protocol while six others are currently under observation. They’re cooperating with the protocol, which lasts 21 days. State health officials aren’t releasing the names of the counties where travelers are being monitored in accordance with privacy laws.
The CDC’s new travel guidelines group people into four categories based on exposure to Ebola: high risk; some risk; low, but not zero risk; and no known risk. People in the high risk category, such as a healthcare worker who treated an Ebola patient, should be monitored by a health official and avoid commercial travel and large gatherings. Those with some risk should be monitored by a doctor and would be allowed to travel on a case-by-case basis.
Travelers with low, but not zero risk should watch for symptoms and those with no known risk don’t have to monitor their health.
The Indiana State Department of Health provided the following reminder to Hoosiers about the Ebola virus and how it spreads:
The Ebola virus is not spread through the air, by water or food, or by casual contact. People with Ebola can only spread the Ebola virus when they have symptoms. There is no known risk of transmission if someone does not have symptoms. Ebola is only spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen, or a needlestick) of a person who is sick with Ebola or the body of a person who has died from Ebola.
Symptoms of Ebola, including fever, weakness, diarrhea and vomiting, may appear anywhere from two to 21 days following exposure to body fluids of a person infected with the virus, but often appear between eight and 10 days following exposure. People are contagious as long as their blood and bodily fluids contain the virus. People who do not have symptoms are not contagious.
Anyone with questions about the Ebola virus can contact the Ebola Call Center at (877) 826-0011. The lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call (877) 561-0044 for the hearing impaired, Mon. – Fri., 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.