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CDC to impose travel measures for Ebola-hit countries

CDC to impose travel measures for Ebola-hit countries
© The World Health Organization/Junior D. Kannah

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday announced new travel measures for those coming to the United States from countries that have been hit with an Ebola outbreak.

Starting next week, passengers traveling from Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be redirected to six U.S. airports so the CDC can track and follow up with them.

Airlines will collect and transmit passenger information to CDC for public health follow-up and intervention for all passengers boarding a flight to the U.S. who were in DRC or Guinea within the previous 21 days,” the announcement states. 

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Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have seen multiple outbreaks of Ebola throughout the years, with previous outbreaks killing thousands of people.

The United States hasn’t seen an Ebola case since 2015 and officials said they don’t believe the latest outbreak is a threat to the country.

For Ebola to spread, a person needs to have direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from a person who has the virus. As long as a person doesn’t travel to an outbreak area, the CDC says it is low risk for an individual to get the virus.

However, as a precaution, the CDC said passengers from the two countries currently facing outbreaks will have their contact information verified and shared with state and local health authorities. 

The agency issued level-three health warnings this week for Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congomeaning there should be no non-essential travel to the countries. 

The outbreak of Ebola in Guinea began in the middle of February in a rural area of the country, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo saw its outbreak begin earlier in the month.

Currently, there have been nine reported cases in Guinea with five deaths. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has seen eight confirmed cases and four deaths in the latest outbreak, according to the World Health Organization.

The latest Ebola outbreaks come as the world is struggling to get the coronavirus under control, with the disease affecting millions of people around the world since the beginning of last year.