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Feds Urge States Not to Act Rashly on Ebola: Senior Official

The Obama administration says state policies for health care workers returning from Ebola-stricken countries "not grounded in science" could backfire.
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New state policies for health care workers returning from Ebola-stricken countries could backfire if they're "not grounded in science," a senior administration official said Sunday. The official didn't confirm a New York Times report that the administration was pressuring the governors of New York and New Jersey to reverse their decision to order a quarantine for all medical workers returning from West Africa who had contact with Ebola patients. The orders came Friday after a Manhattan doctor back from Guinea, Dr. Craig Spencer, tested positive for the disease. A nurse who just returned is in quarantine in New Jersey, although she has tested negative for Ebola.

"We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey, and others states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in West Africa," the administration official said. "We have also let these states know that we are working on new guidelines for returning healthcare workers that will protect the American people against imported cases, while, at the same time, enabling us to continue to tackle this epidemic in West Africa."

Speaking in Florida, however, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he hadn't had any contact with the White House on the quarantine issue. "I've gotten absolutely no contact from the White House at all. I cant speak for (New York's) Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo whether he has, you'll have to ask them," he said at an event with Gov. Rick Scott.

Florida, meanwhile, though it has no airports authorized to receive travelers from the Ebola-affected African nations, has began requiring a 21-day health monitoring of people returning to the state from those countries.


— Kristen Welker