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By Ben Kesling
Ohio health officials strengthened the state's Ebola-monitoring protocols Saturday to require that state
residents who are self-monitoring after contact with an Ebola-exposed environment don't leave the U.S.
Ohio residents who monitoring themselves for symptoms of the Ebola virus must also undergo daily
appointments with a health-department official, according to the state's new mandates.
Ohio instituted the ban on international travel for those being monitored citing "the inability to track
them down in the event they fail to meet their daily reporting requirements," according to a statement by
the state's Emergency Operations Department.
State officials said Sunday morning that 73 people are subject to the new regulations and that 52 other
people are self-monitoring but were at the lowest risk of infection, having had no direct contact or
extended time in the same enclosed space as a confirmed patient. Another 28 individuals are being
closely watched but their cases haven't yet been categorized.
The state has no confirmed cases of Ebola, but has actively quarantined three people who had direct
contact with a confirmed Ebola patient, Dallas nurse Amber Vinson who helped treat Thomas Eric
Duncan and is now being treated for the disease herself.
Ohio officials said the new daily, statewide tally of those being monitored will improve communications
with the public and ensure transparency in the health-care process.
The new travel rules announced Saturday by the Ohio Department of Health require anybody in the state
who is self-monitoring and wants to travel within the state or the U.S. to make arrangements to ensure
another health jurisdiction takes responsibility for the daily reporting.
"As we've seen, travel is a potential problem," Dr. Mary DiOrio, the state's epidemiologist, said in a
statement issued Saturday. "We don't want to take the slightest chance for this disease to potentially
The state is trying to avoid a repetition of what happened in Texas. Two exposed health-care workers in
Dallas--one of whom was later diagnosed with Ebola--traveled; one on a plane and the other on a cruise
ship. Dr. DiOrio said the state is comfortable with criticism of its aggressive stance and is confident the
actions taken are legal.
Those being monitored can be compelled to comply with the new restrictions, said Bill Teets, a
spokesman for the state of Ohio.
Ms. Vinson, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas, traveled to Ohio from Oct. 10 to Oct.
13, flying on a commercial airline even after she started to run a fever. She subsequently tested positive
for Ebola a day later, when she returned to Texas.
Since then, local and state Ohio health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have
been working to track people in the state who might have been in contact with her.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 19, 2014 13:08 ET (17:08 GMT)
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