A dozen travelers being monitored for Ebola in Trenton

Monday, November 3, 2014
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The news has raised some concerns among emergency responders.

TRENTON, N.J. (WPVI) -- Officials in Trenton, New Jersey have confirmed that they are monitoring a number of travelers who have recently returned from the west African nations fighting the Ebola crisis. And the news has raised some concerns among emergency responders in the city.

Health officials won't say exactly how many are undergoing this 21 day monitoring right now, but they do say no one is showing symptoms.

The fire department raised some concerns after learning that there is a list of those being monitored, but that first responders didn't know that.

The state health department says about 100 people in New Jersey who have traveled from west Africa recently are currently being monitored for Ebola symptoms.

It's believed roughly a dozen are living in Trenton.

Trenton Health Director James Brownlee explains, "They are categorized as a low risk, but not zero. That designation means that they have traveled to one of the three countries in west Africa where there is Ebola disease. They have not, number one, been with or near anyone who was a suspected Ebola case or that was a diagnosed case."

According to fire officials on Sunday, after a second 911 call about a possible Ebola-related case, ambulances in Trenton continued responding to emergencies. But firefighters who also respond to those calls suspended operations for two and a half hours after learning through dispatchers about the group being monitored in Trenton... information the fire department hadn't gotten before, but felt it should have.

Trenton Fire Director Qareeb Bashir says, "When the on-duty battalion chief became aware of that, he was concerned because it was new information he had not previously known, and he wanted to just make sure it would not affect any of our protocols."

Recently dispatchers have been questioning 911 callers about any possible Ebola link and passing that on to first responders so they can suit up properly beforehand.

Meantime, those who are in the midst of a 21 day monitoring are being phoned by city public health nurses twice daily and health officials say unless someone becomes symptomatic, there is no threat.

Brownlee tells us, "People do not need to freak out at all. This is something public health has been doing for decades."

Again, health officials say there are no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola disease in New Jersey right now, and they will stay on top of those being monitored in Trenton.