(Reuters) - Florida will require 21-day health monitoring of people returning to the state from Ebola-affected countries in Africa, Governor Rick Scott said, even though the state has no airports authorized to receive travelers from the three nations.
Scott signed an executive order mandating twice-daily health evaluations of anyone who has come from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Four known individuals fall into that category in Florida, Scott said in a news release.
If a person is deemed to have had a “high risk” of contracting the disease, Florida will take further action, which may include mandatory quarantine.
Scott said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declined to identify risk levels of people who have returned from those three African countries.
“I want to be clear that we are taking this aggressive action at the state level out of an abundance of caution in the absence of much-needed Ebola risk classification information from the CDC,” Scott said in the news release.
The CDC did not have any information to provide on Sunday about risk classifications Florida is seeking, a CDC official said in an email.
New York, New Jersey and Illinois imposed 21-day mandatory quarantines in the last two days for medical workers and other people arriving with a high risk of having contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, which have suffered most of the nearly 5,000 fatal cases of Ebola.
Each of those three states has an airport that receives passengers traveling from the affected West African nations, though there are no direct flights to the United States.
The other two airports are Washington Dulles in Virginia and Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta.
“We are using what information is available to our Department of Health through the CDC’s Epi-X web-based system, which monitors individuals who travel to areas with infectious diseases, including Ebola,” Scott said. “Using this system, we know that four individuals have already returned to Florida after traveling to Ebola-affected areas.
State health officials are working to identify anyone who has returned to Florida after traveling to an Ebola region and are investigating their risk of getting the disease, he said.
Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Eric Walsh