Ebola Outbreak Expands; CDC Goes to Level 1 Activation

The Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 930 lives as world health leaders scramble to contain it and researchers focus on an experimental, unproven drug.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday resonded to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa with a “level 1 activation” which is reserved for the most serious public health emergencies. The CDC outbreak’s “potential to affect many lives.” Previous Leel 1 activations include the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the bird-flu threat in 2009.

The Ebola outbreak is believed to have killed 932 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea in West Africa. This week, two American aid workers infected with Ebola were flown back to the U.S. for treatment at a medical facility in Atlanta.

The CDC is deploying additional staff to the four affected countries, and announced that 50 more disease-control experts are scheduled to arrive in West Africa in the next 30 days. The CDC also issued instructions to airlines that may come into contact with passengers from the affected countries designed to minimize the chance of infection, and reminded the public of special quarantine stations that have already been set up in 20 major airports in the United States.

O’Hare International Airport is one of 20 airports in the United States that has already had a CDC quarantine station prepared for any incoming passenger suspected of having a potentially infectious disease.

Two Americans who became infected with the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa are now quarantined in an Atlanta hospital, but arrived at a secured military base. There are recent concerns — especially from West Africa — that passengers traveling from infected areas of the world might cause Ebola to spread in the United States.

According to statistics from the CDC from 2009, O’Hare International Airport saw Major Airport Arrivals 5 million international passengers — including 31,000 immigrants, 14,500 refugees, and 44,360 international flights.

British Airways has halted all flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone for one month after analyzing the risks of the ebola outbreak in West Africa. British Airways did NOT post the announcement on their official Twitter account.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE O’HARE QUARANTINE STATION

Jurisdiction
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operates a quarantine station in Chicago. The station’s jurisdiction includes all ports in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin; and the preclearance port of Toronto, Canada. Quarantine Station Activities Respond to reports of illness or death on airplanes, cargo vessels, and other conveyances at international ports of entry within jurisdiction, including the water ports in the southern part of Lake Michigan (e.g., Chicago, Burns Harbor, Milwaukee).

Review medical records of migrants who will reside permanently in the United States. Notify state and local health departments and refer any migrants with infectious tuberculosis and other communicable diseases.

Partner with other federal agencies and local and state health departments, private medical providers, and hospitals in preparedness activities related to quarantine and isolation at ports of entry.

Monitor importations that may have pathogens infectious to humans. Partner with health departments on emergency response, migrant health, and communicable disease.

See also …
www.cdc.gov/quarantine/stations/chicago.html

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