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Health Officer Grosser addresses Ebola in Princeton

Presenting an update on Monday night about themandatory quarantine of an NBC crew that included Princeton resident and NBC News’ Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman, Princeton Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser said he was in disbelief aboutthe fact that he was addressing the subject of Ebola inPrinceton.

“Not in a million years did I believe I would be speaking ata Princeton council meeting speaking about Ebola, let alonethe Princeton connection,” Grosser said, according to aTimes of Trenton article.


Upon their return to the United States, Snyderman and her crewwere labeled as not at risk for Ebola, Grosser said in a PlanetPrinceton article.

Later, the crew was upgraded to “lowrisk,” meaning they had come within three feet of someone who tested positive for Ebola. This is the distance at whichexposure to secretions such assweat and saliva may have occurred.

Grosser said it was hisunderstanding that Snyderman and her crew were in contactwith a cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola “in anoffice-like setting.”

After violating the voluntary self-isolation order theNBC crew agreed upon after deliberating with the New Jersey State Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Snyderman and her team were issueda mandatory confinement order last week.

According to Grosser, the mandatory quarantine is effectiveuntil 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 22.

Jason McDonald, a CDC spokesperson, said that whilethe CDC makes recommendations, official orders likethe mandatory confinement order come from state andlocal governments.


Grosser explained the steps taken since Snyderman wasspotted outside her home include increased surveillance by the PrincetonPolice Department and consistent temperature checks and monitoringof the individuals to ensure they stay asymptomaticthroughout their incubation period.

He also said diagnosing Ebola can be difficult based on symptomsalone, because many of the symptoms, including fever, are commonto other health issues.

The sighting of Snyderman was first reported byPlanet Princeton.

The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad is preparedin case an isolation plan needs to be put into place, according to Grosser. Under the plan,anyone in Princeton who is sick would be taken to the University MedicalCenter of Princeton at Plainsboro.

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Grosser said to Planet Princeton that he is confident thehospital is prepared for anyone who would need to be put in isolation.

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert told the Times ofTrenton thatEbola is an extremely frightening disease but that she’s happy toknow the NBC crew is healthy and the public is not indanger.

NBC did not respond to a request for comment.

"While under voluntary quarantine guidelines,which called for our team to avoid public contact for 21days, members of our group violated those guidelines andunderstand that our quarantine is now mandatory until 21days have passed," Snyderman said in a published public statement. “We remain healthy and our temperaturesare normal.”

The New Jersey State Health Department confirmed that the "crewremains symptom-free, so there is no reason for concern of exposure tothe community."

“To reiterate and make sure everyone knows," Grosser said, “they pose zerorisk to the public as long as they are asymptomatic.”

“I’m more afraid of ISIS moving closer to Baghdad thanEbola in Princeton,” Councilman Lance Liverman said to Planet Princeton. “Weare light-years ahead of everyone else. The intelligenceand information we have here in Princeton with this isoverwhelming.”

The New Jersey Department of Health, Hopewell Police Department,PPD and Grosser could not bereached for comment.