State health officials are monitoring a New Orleans-area man for signs of the deadly Ebola virus, a state Department of Health and Hospitals spokeswoman said Thursday.
The federal Centers for Disease Control alerted the state to the individual who had just returned from a visit to an Ebola-impacted country, DHH Communications Director Olivia Watkins said.
“The individual is at low risk for Ebola, but we are monitoring him … out of an abundance of caution,” Watkins said.
The man is staying at home, she said. The last day of his monitoring will be Nov. 5.
“He has no symptoms. He had no history of exposure to Ebola,” Watkins said.
Watkins said she could provide no specific information about the man’s travels, including where he visited, nor any personal information because of privacy issues.
The man is being observed in the same way as an LSU employee who returned to Baton Rouge earlier this month after training Liberian police officers on Ebola safety procedures, she said. During the 21-day monitoring period, there are morning and evening temperature readings as well as checks for symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches or bleeding.
LSU’s Jason Krause, associate director of operations and plans with the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, did not return to work after the trip. He said he is not under an official quarantine but was limiting his travel to help minimize any public concern.
Krause was part of a five-member team who trained 1,275 Liberian police on Ebola basics and on safety equipment they may be called on to use. The team did not interact with patients.
The Ebola virus has resulted in the deaths of more than 4,500 residents in West African countries.
The first death in the U.S. occurred in Texas: Thomas Eric Duncan had just returned from Liberia and been in close contact with a woman who died from the virus.
The first group of people who had contact in the U.S. with Duncan were taken off an exposure watch list in Dallas this week. More than 40 people, including Duncan’s fiancée and son, completed a 21-day monitoring period. Others, including Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas employees, remain under observation. Two nurses who cared for Duncan are being treated for the Ebola virus; one of them traveled out of state before the diagnosis.
On Monday, Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered state agencies to develop policies covering travel to Ebola-stricken countries by their employees, students and faculty.
The executive order covers those who travel as a result of educational trips or work-related missions to countries identified by the CDC as having an epidemic of the deadly virus, including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Jindal said the policies should include the reporting of travel to those countries and the development of policies governing return to normal duties or classroom attendance following such travel. He said he wanted policies developed within five days.
On Thursday, state Civil Service Director Shannon Templet distributed a sample policy to help state agencies comply with Jindal’s order.
“This sample policy complies with all Civil Service rules for classified employees, addresses the requirements of Executive Order 14-13 and can be used for all employees, i.e. classified, unclassified, full-time, part-time and student workers, etc.” Templet said.