Nearly two dozen people in Washington are under observation after travel to Ebola-affected regions in West Africa, public health officials said Friday.

Officials in Oregon on Thursday announced that four people were similarly being monitored after travel to Guinea and Democratic Republic of the Congo, bringing the total in the region to 27.

Like in Oregon, officials in Washington said the risk to the public was “very low.”

The Washington Department of Health said all of the individuals had been in contact with state officials and would be monitored for 21 days, the incubation period for the virus. None had shown symptoms, officials said.

Unlike the new coronavirus, which can be transmitted by aerosolized droplets, the Ebola virus is spread only by contact with bodily fluids, and the virus cannot be transmitted by asymptomatic people.

Richard Leman, Oregon’s chief medical officer for health security, preparedness and response, said the state was ready for this type of scenario.


“We’ve had to do this before,” he said. “These approaches we’re using have been successful in those instances, and we’ve never had a case of Ebola in Oregon.”

Citing privacy laws, officials in Oregon and Washington have not released any details about the people being monitored — including their age, location or why they traveled to the affected region.

As of Wednesday, Guinea had reported 18 cases and nine deaths related to the outbreak, which is centered in the southern region of the country. Democratic Republic of Congo has seen 12 cases and six deaths in the eastern part of the country near the border with Uganda.

The outbreaks were limited to small areas in both countries and had not affected large population centers.

Still, the Centers for Disease Control has issued warnings for both countries and told people to avoid unnecessary travel.

The CDC’s information about Ebola