Black Hawk Co: We had '1 or more' travelers watched for Ebola - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Black Hawk Co: We had '1 or more' travelers watched for Ebola

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) - The person in Iowa who is still under quarantine for having "some risk" of Ebola does not live in Black Hawk County, according to health officials -- but at least one traveler in the county had previously been monitored for symptoms.

Bruce Meisinger, director of the Black Hawk County Health Department, confirmed that the county had "one or more persons" that were considered low-risk, but had been under "order," meaning they were being monitored -- not quarantined -- by his department.

"They've been released from their orders," Meisinger said, noting he was not going to release information about them due to privacy laws. "At this moment, no one is under health orders. The only reason I'm mentioning that Black Hawk County had one or more persons is because those persons are no longer under order."

Those individuals, he said, were required to make daily contact with his department twice a day to verify their health status and give a temperature reading, but were otherwise allowed to go about their business.

Those individuals never showed symptoms, and their 21-day monitoring period is now over, Meisinger said, meaning they are now at no risk of Ebola.

"The process worked," Meisinger said. "It demonstrated that the process in place for several weeks (with the Iowa Department of Public Health) has been effective. It presents a high level of assurance to the public."

That process, he said, begins at one of five U.S. airports that a traveler from the "Ebola zone," or one of the west African countries with a high incidence of the disease, flies into.

If the traveler's destination state is Iowa, Meisinger said, the traveler is referred to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

From there, the IDPH notifies the county health department, and that county sets up a face-to-face meeting to decide whether a self-monitoring order should apply, or a full-on quarantine.

So far, only one traveler coming back to Iowa has been under quarantine out of more than a dozen.

"We know virtually everyone traveling to the U.S. from these countries, and we're able to track and monitor them," Meisinger said.

He noted that it's possible that someone could fly into Canada and drive back into the United States to get around this process, but that it hasn't happened yet.

"If they fly into the United States, they have to fly into one of those five airports, and we will know who they are and be able to meet with them," he said.

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