The quarantine is set to last for three weeks from the last exposure
to someone infected in the West African Ebola outbreak, which is
centered in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the officials said.
Missionaries from the North Carolina-based Christian aid groups SIM
USA and Samaritan's Purse have been working to help combat the
world's worst outbreak of the disease. Two of the relief workers
contracted the disease and were being cared for at Emory University
"This measure is being taken out of an abundance of caution, and it
is important to remember that there are no confirmed or suspected
cases of Ebola in North Carolina," Dr Stephen Keener, medical
director in North Carolina's Mecklenburg County, said in a
"Quarantine is a public health measure to protect the public that
requires healthy people who were exposed to a disease to be
prevented from contact with others until it is certain that they are
not infected," Keener added.
The statement said the 21-day period is based on the longest
duration of Ebola incubation - the delay between exposure and onset
of illness. Officials said the average incubation period is eight to
SIM USA said on Sunday some of its missionary staff based in Liberia
will be returning to Charlotte, where the group is headquartered.
"We will continue to cooperate and collaborate with them and adhere
strictly to their guidelines in the return of our missionaries to
the United States," Johnson added.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids including
blood, urine, feces and saliva of an infected person, or with
objects such as needles that have been contaminated. Nearly 1,000
people in West Africa have now died in the outbreak of one of the
deadliest known diseases.
[to top of second column]
An official with the U.N. World Health Organization said on Sunday
there have been 1,825 cases reported, with the mortality rate
running at about 55 to 60 percent.
Speaking on the CBS program "Face the Nation", Dr. Keiji Fukuda,
WHO's assistant director-general for health security, said he
expects the number of infections to increase.
"What is difficult in this situation is that we are dealing with
countries with weak health systems. And we are dealing with areas in
which practices like good infection prevention and control practices
are not the norm in some of the hospitals and in families and
communities," Fukuda said.
(Reporting by Will Dunham; Additional reporting by Patrick Rucker;
Editing by Stephen Powell)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.