Ebola: Health officials following CDC guidance

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Special to The SUN

Colorado has no cases of Ebola, but the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is following Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to prepare for the possibility.

The CDC works with partners at all ports of entry into the United States to help prevent infectious diseases from being introduced and spread in the United States. The CDC works with Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Agriculture, U.S. Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, state and local health departments, and local emergency medical services staff.

Relatively few of the approximately 350 million travelers who enter the United States each year come from West African countries. There have been — and will continue to be — many travelers from West African countries who are not sick, had no known exposure to Ebola, and are returning to their homes in the U.S.

Neither the CDC nor CDPHE provides surveillance and tracking of healthy people without known risk who are returning home. State health officials will not be providing information about healthy travelers returning to Colorado from West Africa.

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the body fluids (blood, urine, feces, saliva and other secretions) of a person who is sick with Ebola, or with objects such as needles that have been contaminated with the virus. Ebola is not spread through the air. Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear.

Early recognition of Ebola is important for providing appropriate patient care and preventing the spread of infection. The CDC and the CDPHE recommend health care providers ask all patients with fever and any other symptoms that could be consistent with Ebola if they have traveled to Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia within 21 days of the onset of symptoms.

Call (303) 692-2700 with questions about Ebola. More information is available from the CDC.