Now California: Stanford ER surgeon being monitored on return from Liberia
A Stanford Hospital emergency room physician and disaster preparedness leader who returned to the United States from Liberia late Friday night is being monitored by public health officials in San Mateo County for the possibility that he contracted Ebola while treating patients there
A Stanford Hospital emergency room physician and disaster preparedness leader who returned to the United States from Liberia late Friday night is being monitored by public health officials in San Mateo County for the possibility that he contracted Ebola while treating patients there, officials confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
The San Mateo County Department of Public Health has been coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and San Francisco International Airport, since Dr. Colin Bucks returned from the West African nation late on Oct. 24.
“At the time he arrived, there were no CDC or state quarantine guidelines issued,” county officials said Oct. 29, but the state public health department issued its own set of guidelines this morning.
Lisa Kim, a Stanford spokeswoman, confirmed that Bucks is medical director of disaster preparedness for Stanford Health Care, which includes Stanford Hospital, and a clinical assistant professor of surgery at Stanford medical school’s department of emergency medicine.
Kim said he followed CDC and public health guidelines during the period after he returned from West Africa, without providing specifics. “He is not at work” at Stanford, and will not be during the 21-day potential incubation period for the Ebola virus.
Bucks was “very cooperative” and agreed with public health officials to limit his activities during the 21-day incubation period of the Ebola virus, to take his temperature regularly and to communicate with county health officials twice a day during the limited quarantine period, according to local public health officials.
So far, he is “healthy and asymptomatic,” they said, meaning Bucks has not shown any symptoms characteristic of the viral disease that has killed roughly 5,000 people in West Africa in recent months.
The county’s guidelines include staying away from work and from close contact with others during the three-week period. He is allowed “limited activity outside of his home, such as jogging alone,” officials said. They’re also reviewing those guidelines with CDC officials to ensure they’re in line with the agency’s national rules for health care workers believed to be at “some risk” of developing the disease.
The news broke the same day that the California Department of Public Health announced new “flexible” guidelines for monitoring and possible quarantining of doctors and other health care workers returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, or others returning from the Ebola-affected nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone who had contact with people infected with the virus.
To date, there have been no confirmed cases of the disease in California. But Sacramento County health officials are monitoring a person with a ‘very low risk’ of having contracted the virus. That person had visited West Africa but had no contact with any patients.