ATLANTA (AP) — A CDC staff member who worked in close proximity to someone infected by the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa has been flown by charter jet back home to Atlanta to monitor potential symptoms, officials said Thursday.
The staffer had "low-risk" contact with someone who later tested positive for the virus in Sierra Leone, said Tom Skinner, a spokesman at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control.
"The worker is not sick, not showing symptoms, not showing any signs of illness whatsoever," Skinner said.
The staffer worked within three feet of the ill international health worker in the same room for a prolonged period of time, according to a CDC statement. The staffer practiced "good personal infection control," according to the CDC. The agency did not identify the worker.
The CDC staffer arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday and is at home, Skinner said. The worker is expected to check for fever twice each day for 21 days as a precaution, Skinner said.
A specially-equipped jet that was used to transport American aid workers Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly to Atlanta after they tested positive for Ebola was not used for the CDC staffer, Skinner said. Instead, he said, the staffed flew on a more standard charter plane. Writebol and Brantly were released from Emory University Hospital this month.
The World Health Organization said Thursday that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa eventually could exceed 20,000 cases, more than six times as many as are now known.
To fight the outbreak, more than 60 CDC personnel are in the region, though the numbers fluctuate as staffers rotate in and out of hard-hit areas, according to the agency.
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