The United States government is modifying its enhanced Ebola entry screening and monitoring program for travelers from Liberia.
On May 9, 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia after 42 days (two incubation periods) passed since the last Ebola patient was buried. There are currently no known cases of Ebola in Liberia, and the risk of Ebola for routine travelers returning from Liberia is now considered low. Per WHO guidance, Liberia is maintaining a system of heightened surveillance for a further 90 days, and will continue Ebola surveillance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its country classification for Liberia on May 13, 2015, to a country with former widespread transmission, and current, established control measures.
As of June 17, 2015, travelers from Liberia entering the United States will continue to be funneled through the five U.S. airports conducting enhanced entry screening (New York JFK, Washington-Dulles, Newark International, Chicago O’Hare, and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson). Travelers from Liberia will continue to have their temperatures taken and be asked questions about travel history and possible exposures to Ebola. Travelers will also provide their contact information so that the health department at their destination can connect with them, if needed. Under the modified entry screening, travelers from Liberia with no enhanced risk factors will receive a version of the CARE kit that includes information about Ebola, a thermometer, and contact information for state and local health departments. Travelers will be encouraged to watch their health for 21 days after leaving Liberia and to contact their local health departments if they have a fever or any other symptoms consistent with Ebola. Travelers from Liberia will no longer need to be actively monitored by or be in daily contact with their health departments. We will continue to evaluate the need for continued screening of travelers from Liberia at regular intervals in order to consider whether additional step-down measures may be warranted.
Entry screening and monitoring will not change for travelers entering the United States from Guinea or Sierra Leone – this includes travelers from Liberia who have also traveled to either Guinea or Sierra Leone within the previous 21 days. Liberia will continue to conduct exit screening procedures for travelers departing Liberia and refer travelers for evaluation or care as appropriate.
Identifying returning travelers offers the opportunity to give them information about Ebola, obtain their contact information, and connect them with state and local health departments should they experience symptoms that might be consistent with Ebola. CDC recommends that healthcare providers use clinical judgment to evaluate patients based on their travel and exposure history and symptoms, and coordinate healthcare, if needed, through the state or local health department to ensure appropriate care without delay.