US quarantines 4 for Ebola monitoring

Four close contacts of the U.S. Ebola patient are under quarantine in their apartment for monitoring by doctors, Texas health officials said Thursday. 

The individuals are not currently exhibiting Ebola symptoms but will have their temperatures taken twice a day in order to ensure they did not catch the virus, officials said. 

The quarantine is the latest step to isolate potential cases of Ebola connected with Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who arrived in the United States last month with Ebola and was admitted to the hospital on Sunday. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said its team is following up with 100 people who may have had contact with Duncan in the last week. 

Only a "handful" of people were potentially exposed to the virus, and they are also being monitored twice daily, said David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. 

The story of Duncan's case has gripped the media as health officials seek to prevent a viral outbreak. 

While spread of the disease is unlikely in the United States, officials in Texas are still taking preliminary steps to ensure the safety of Duncan's contacts. 

Lakey said the apartment where Duncan stayed will be professionally disinfected for the first time on Thursday. There are still soiled linens that likely carry the virus in bags in the residence, according to reports. 

"The house conditions need to be improved," he said. "We've been working to identify an entity that will go out and do the cleaning ... That is taking place today." 

The comments took place on a call with reporters headed by CDC Director Tom Frieden

Lakey refused to answer questions about the four individuals under quarantine, saying only that they are not sick at this time. He did not explain why a quarantine order was needed. 

"In order to ensure that the monitoring takes place, I signed that control order," he said.