This week the CDC began providing us with a daily listing of people arriving in Arizona from Ebola affected countries. This is valuable information because it allows us to more quickly and easily identify suspect cases of Ebola right away-before community exposures occur. This week we received information about a handful of low-risk people that are in Arizona after having returned from W. Africa. Each are responsible for checking their temperature twice each day and logging any symptoms they develop. They’re also responsible for following up daily with their county health department. At the current pace, I expect to eventually have a rolling list of between 20-30 people being actively monitored at any given time.
We’ll be using the CDC’s new guidance for monitoring and movement as we follow up with people on the travel list. The key changes from the former guidance include: 1) new risk levels for people who may have been exposed to Ebola; 2) specific actions for each risk level based on the type of exposure; 3) advice for when state and local public health authorities should use active monitoring rather than having people monitor themselves; and 4) specific guidance about active or direct active monitoring of health care workers who provided care of patients with Ebola in West Africa.
- Active Monitoring means that the state or local public health authority has regular communication with potentially exposed individuals, including checking daily to assess for the presence of symptoms and fever (rather than relying solely on people to self-monitor and report symptoms if they develop).
- Direct Active Monitoring means the public health authority conducts
monitoring through direct observation. The purpose of direct active monitoring is to ensure that, if individuals with epidemiologic risk factors become ill, they’re identified as soon as possible after symptom onset so they can be rapidly isolated and evaluated.
So far, all of the folks that have had Arizona as a final destination are in the low risk category, so we’re only conducting Active Monitoring rather than Direct Active Monitoring…but that will change if we get a higher risk traveler.