Vermont resident quarantined after returning from West Africa

The Vermont Department of Health has requested a Vermonter who has just returned from West Africa to enter voluntary quarantine and active monitoring for fever or symptoms of Ebola for 21 days. This individual agreed, and began quarantine on Oct. 27.

This person does not have an elevated temperature, has no signs or symptoms of illness and is not a health risk to anyone at this time. A person infected with Ebola cannot pass the infection on to others until he or she has symptoms – and then only through direct contact with bodily fluids. Ebola is not an airborne virus.

Public health and law enforcement officials from Vermont met this individual at JFK International Airport on Oct. 27, and provided transport back to Vermont.

Federal officials assessed this person before allowing travel back to the U.S. and concluded there was not a health risk to the traveling public. The reason for the Vermont Health Department to request quarantine in this circumstance is that the individual was in the West African countries of Guinea and Sierra Leone with the stated intention of personally investigating the Ebola epidemic in those countries, and while he has represented himself in public statements as a physician, he is not licensed as a doctor or health professional in Vermont. He was not traveling or affiliated with any governmental, public health, medical or aid organization.

“We do not know whether this person had exposure to the virus while in West Africa,” said acting Health Commissioner Tracy Dolan. “Because we can’t determine this – and combined with what we know about this person’s unsupervised travel, intent to help as a medical doctor, and his statements – we are taking the precaution of quarantine while we actively monitor temperature and symptoms for 21 days.”

The information above was taken from a press release issued by the Vermont Department of Health.