KEY POINTS

  • Four people in Oregon are "under monitoring" for possible Ebola exposure
  • They recently visited Ebola-affected countries
  • Oregon health officials stress that the risk to Oregonians is "low"

Health authorities are currently monitoring four people in Oregon for the Ebola virus amid the ongoing outbreak in other nations.

The four individuals, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said in a statement, entered the state in early March after recent visits to Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), countries that are currently experiencing an Ebola outbreak.

The four are considered "persons under monitoring" and have already been in contact with authorities.

"The goal of this contact is to determine their risk, if any, of being exposed to Ebola and ensure their safety, as well as the safety of their families and the community," the OHA said, clarifying that the threat to people in Oregon is "low."

'Low' Risk 

"This is not a big deal," Chief Medical Officer for Health Security, Preparedness and Response Dr. Richard Leman said as per Oregon Public Broadcasting. "Public health is basically taking steps to keep it that way."

He further noted that the monitoring programs they are using in the current situation aren't really new, reported Oregon Live. In fact, the agency has used the same methods in past Ebola outbreaks. 

"These approaches we're using have been successful in those instances and we've never had a case of Ebola in Oregon," Dr. Leman further said, according to the outlet.

Unlike in cases of COVID-19, which can spread even when a person is asymptomatic, a person with Ebola can only spread the virus to others once the symptoms have begun, OHA explained. This would be through direct contact with the bodily fluids of the person who has been infected or has died from the virus, or from coming in contact with contaminated objects such as medical equipment.

So far, none of the four have presented any symptoms of the illness, Oregon Live said.

Level 3 Warning

Since March 4, all airlines have been supplying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with information on U.S.-bound travelers who have been to the affected countries in the past 21 days, the OHA said.

A Level 3 warning is already in place for the regions affected by the Ebola outbreaks which, according to the OHA, is limited to "small areas of each country." This means that people are recommended to avoid non-essential travel to these locations.

As of March 24, there have been 18 reported Ebola cases and nine Ebola-related deaths in Guinea. Meanwhile, in DRC, 12 Ebola cases as well and six Ebola-related deaths have already been recorded.

Ebola Some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion is revealed in this undated handout colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) obtained by Reuters, Aug. 1, 2014. Photo: REUTERS/Frederick Murphy/CDC