Health care workers in state monitoring temperatures of travelers back from W. Africa

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TACOMA — Health care workers in five counties are monitoring people who recently returned to Washington from West Africa.

Health departments in King, Snohomish,Pierce, Skagit and Clark counties are monitoring a total of five people in Washington as a precaution.

Everyone being monitored are said to be low-risk.

“I know there is a lot of anxiety around this right now,” Dr. Scott Lindquist said.

No one is showing any signs of sickness but they are not in the clear until 21 days because that’s how long it takes for symptoms to show up.

“We are following up with every single one of those travelers,” Lindquist said.

Among those travelers is a Seattle-area nurse who landed at Sea-Tac on Saturday after helping Ebola patients in Africa.

The Skagit County Health Department is checking in with another aid worker.

And on Wednesday night, Pierce County got their first call.

“This is a low-risk situation; there is no reason at all for public concern,” Tacoma-Pierce County  Health Department spokeswoman Edie Jeffers said.

Health care workers in Snohomish and Clark counties are also monitoring travelers.

They travelers are checking in twice a day, making sure no one's temperature rises above 100.4 degrees "or have any kind of change in any symptoms. We would have different guidelines of getting them into a hospital,” Jeffers said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced new guidelines in which travelers returning from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa will be asked to provide their temperatures and other health information for 21 days.

“Washington state has been doing this for a week already,” Lindquist said.

Lindquist added that the checkups are out of an abundance of caution, a reassurance to the public that everything is being done so Ebola does not spread.

“We have done a really good job of making sure that our front-line folks know about this,” Lindquist said.

Health officials say there is no need to isolate or quarantine the travelers unless they start to show symptoms. Some of the people have volunteered to stay out of public places and transportation for the 21 days.

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2 comments

  • Cynthie

    Why would only some volunteer to self quarantine? The healthcare workers chose to go to those countries to help. At the same time they are choosing to possibly expose others? I don’t understand the thought pattern…I need to help those people, yet I don’t care who I may hurt when I return?