- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota health officials said Wednesday they are monitoring 48 recently arrived travelers as part of their new program to watch for signs of Ebola.

The travelers, who recently arrived from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, will be watched for 21 days for fever or any symptoms of possible infection. That’s the incubation period for the virus that has killed hundreds in those western African nations.

The health department also said it will contact another 12 people for possible monitoring, which includes twice-daily self-monitoring for fever or other symptoms. Travelers are also required to keep a log of activities and people with whom they have close contact during the 21 days.

The monitoring doesn’t mean the travelers are showing Ebola symptoms, but rather is part of the state’s screening protocols that were announced in October.

Health officials said Wednesday’s announcement was the first in planned weekly bulletins on the number of people being monitored and their risk category. Those contacted so far were in the lowest risk category.

State guidelines also call for more severe restrictions on higher-risk travelers, such as those who had direct exposure to people who have Ebola. Whereas low-risk travelers may self-report temperature readings and symptom checks via telephone, higher-risk travelers would be visually monitored, said Kris Ehresman, the health department’s director for infectious disease.

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