CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Department of Public Health has begun monitoring a local photojournalist for signs of Ebola, more than a week after he returned home from Liberia.
Marcus DiPaola works for the XInhua News Agency and CNC World, which provide news– content to Chinese newspapers and television programs.
He returned to the U.S. from Monrovia, Liberia, on Oct. 20. Since he returned, he has been monitoring himself for a fever by taking his temperature every hour. He has yet to show any symptoms of Ebola.
Two nurses from the Chicago Department of Public Health visited his home Wednesday to check on him.
DiPaola initially was examined in New York City after his plane from Liberia landed on American soil. Officials checked his temperature, after he informed them he’d been to the Ebola hot zone in West Africa.
Despite that, after continuing on to Chicago, it took nine days before health workers contacted him.
“I got a phone call from New York City Department of health last Saturday, saying ‘Hey, you’re in New York City, we want to start actively monitoring you.’ I said, ‘I’m not in New York City. I’m in Chicago.’ They’re like, ‘Okay, well, we have to notify the Chicago Department of Health. They’re going to contact you within 24 hours.’ That never happened,” DiPaola said.
DiPaola said it’s unclear why it took so long for officials from New York and Illinois to contact him after his initial screening. He also said he’s not subject to a home quarantine mandate in Illinois, as he’s not a health worker, and not considered to be at high risk for Ebola.
While in Liberia, he took several photos of Ebola patients and health workers, who he calls “Ebola warriors.”
“We’re not taking the threat of Ebola seriously enough. We need more doctors, more nurses, and more healthcare workers,” DiPaola said. “We need a lot more things, but even though we’re going to send them over there, when they come back, it’s important that they not be stigmatized. It’s important that we use science-based methods to monitor them, and that’s actually monitoring.”
He said he plans to go back to Liberia in December, or early next year.