Although the CDC updated their Ebola travel advisories (Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions) to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia on Monday – today CDC Director Thomas Frieden announced an escalation to a Warning Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel – during a press conference.
While exposure to Ebola is a concern in these countries, the degradation of overall medical services in the region due to the Ebola outbreak was also cited as a reason for the decision to raise the alert level.
UPDATED 1415 hrs:
In describing the situation, Director Frieden stated that Ebola is worsening in Western Africa, and there are no quick or easy solutions, given the challenges in the region. This outbreak is likely to continue for months to come, and the CDC is preparing to send 50 EIS (Epidemic Intelligence Service) officers to the region in the next month.
While the CDC is preparing for the possibility that an infected individual might arrive in this country via air travel (see CDC Teleconference & HAN Notice On Ebola), they also reassure that any significant spread in this country is unlikely due to its limited transmissibility, and our public health infrastructure.
Dr Frieden ended by stressing three key points (paraphrased).
- Ebola is worsening in West Africa. It is the largest and most complex outbreak known to date.
- CDC is surging their response in West Africa, and while it won’t be quick ot easy, they know what it takes to stop Ebola. It will nr a marathon, not a sprint, and it will take 3 to 6 months . . . assuming things go right.
- We have strong systems in place to detect, isolate, and treat Ebola cases should they show up in the United States.
The CDC will likely have a transcript, and audio recording, from today’s teleconference posted on this website later today.