Indiana Exceeding CDC Ebola Guidelines; Monitoring All Travelers From Affected Countriesby Indiana State Department of Health on October 29, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS—In light of new travel guidance issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Indiana outlined its procedures for monitoring all travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea whose final destination is in Indiana. State and local health officials will continue to monitor these individuals at a higher level than recommended by the CDC, following a policy put into effect on October 16.
Indiana was the first state in the nation to begin “direct active monitoring” of all returning travelers when Governor Pence and the Indiana State Department of Health implemented the policy on Oct. 16. Direct active monitoring means any individual coming to Indiana from Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia will be monitored by the local health department for 21 days upon entering the country. This includes twice daily temperature and symptom checks, which are recorded and provided to the State Health Department. If the travelers experience symptoms in between checks, they have been instructed to immediately contact the local health department.
“The State of Indiana is going above and beyond the recommendations of the CDC and working closely with our local health departments to actively monitor travelers at even the low-risk level,” said State Health Epidemiologist Pam Pontones.
The State Department of Health has completed monitoring of two individuals without incident and is currently monitoring five others. All of these individuals are cooperative and are considered low risk.
“The Governor has placed the highest priority on our preventative measures out of an abundance of caution to protect Hoosiers from this serious disease,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “While no state can guarantee it will not have an Ebola case, Indiana continues to work every day with local health providers and emergency responders across the state to evaluate and improve protocols, and Hoosiers may be assured that we will continue to carefully monitor developments and take steps necessary to protect people of our state from the threat of Ebola."
The CDC’s new travel guidance categorizes travelers into four groups based on exposure to Ebola: high risk; some risk; low, but not zero risk; and no known risk. CDC advises that individuals in the high risk category, such as a healthcare worker who treated an Ebola patient, be monitored by a health official, avoid commercial travel and large gatherings. They recommend that individuals with some risk, such as a household member of a patient, be monitored by a health official, but have travel evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Travelers with “low, but not zero risk” are advised to self monitor and travelers with “no known risk” are not advised to monitor their health.
State health officials are not releasing the names of the counties where travelers are being monitored to protect their heath information privacy in accordance with the Infectious Disease Reporting Rule.
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.
The Ebola Call Center (877) 826-0011 is 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.