The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a conference call with reporters Monday to announce new guidelines for dealing with people entering the country from Ebola-impacted countries. The CDC has been under pressure from the White House aid in dissuading the American public from supporting a quarantine for health care workers returning from treating infected patients in West Africa.
These new guidelines, according to CDC director Thomas Frieden, are based in science. He told reporters, “At CDC, we base our decisions on science and experience. We base our decisions on what we know and what we learn. And as the science and experience changes, we adopt and adapt our guidelines and recommendations.”
But Frieden contradicted his own CDC’s pronouncements on how Ebola is transmitted. Frieden said Ebola “only spreads through direct contact with someone who’s sick or their body fluids. The highest risks are in people who are providing care giving, especially as patients become increasingly sick.” (Emphasis added.)
But the new guidelines state there is “some risk” in having “close contact,” not “direct contact,” with a person infected with Ebola.
Under the “some risk” category, someone subject to “direct active monitoring” by health officials is a person who had “Close contact in households, healthcare facilities, or community settings with a person with Ebola while the person was symptomatic.”