PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority says that it is monitoring four people who recently visited West African countries that are currently experiencing outbreaks of the Ebola virus, but the agency said that there is "low risk" to people in Oregon.
OHA and officials from local public health departments have been in contact with the four people, who are all considered "persons under monitoring" after arriving in the state earlier this month. Officials will be determining their risk of exposure to Ebola.
“We want to make sure these individuals have the support they need to monitor their health, stay in contact with public health officials and safely get help with medical services if it comes to that,” said Dr. Richard Leman, Chief Medical Officer for Health Security, Preparedness and Response at the OHA Public Health Division.
As of March 24, Guinea had identified 18 cases of Ebola and nine Ebola-related deaths, OHA said. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has reported 12 Ebola cases and six related deaths. Both outbreaks are currently limited to small areas of each country, and not in large population centers.
The CDC issued "Level 3" travel warnings for the affected regions, recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to those locations.
Starting on March 4, the CDC required all airlines to supply contact information for U.S.-bound travelers that have been in Guinea or the DRC within the past 21 days, which is the longest-known incubation period for Ebola. All such travelers are routed through six international airports and screened on arrival.
"CDC shares information for travelers from affected regions whose itineraries include Oregon," OHA said. "That way, public health authorities can contact these travelers and ensure they know symptoms to watch for and how to receive prompt medical evaluation if they become ill with symptoms consistent with Ebola."
OHA said that public health officials are reaching out to international organizations with services in the affected nations to request early notification of any volunteers traveling to Oregon after working in those areas.