The New Jersey Health Department has issued a mandatory quarantine order for Dr. Nancy Snyderman and the other members of an NBC crew who were exposed to a cameraman with Ebola. The mandatory order was issued after a voluntary 21-day isolation agreement was violated.
A spokeswoman for the state health department told the The Associated Press that Snyderman and her crew remain symptom-free and that there is no reason for concern of exposure to the deadly virus to the community. Citing privacy concerns, the spokeswoman would not give further details, including who violated the agreement and how the state learned of a violation.
Snyderman and her crew were reporting in Liberia about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa with Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance cameraman who was infected with the disease. He is now being treated in Omaha, Nebraska. The director of the Nebraska Medical Center’s isolation unit said Friday that Mukpo’s condition was slightly improved, the Associated Press reported.
After Mukpo came down with the disease on Oct. 1, the head of NBC announced in a letter that Snyderman and the rest of her crew would voluntarily be isolated for 21 days.
In a phone interview from Liberia last week for the Today Show, Snyderman said all the gear she and her crew used was being disinfected because they all shared work space and vehicles. She said she believed she and her team were at a low risk because they have been hyper-vigilant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people exposed to the virus develop symptoms two to 21 days after their exposure. The risk of exposure for other members of the NBC crew was considered to be very low.
The isolation deal was made with the CDC, state and local health officials.
“Unfortunately, the NBC crew violated this agreement and so the Department of Health today issued a mandatory quarantine order to ensure that the crew will remain confined until Oct. 22,” the spokeswoman for the New Jersey Health Department told the Associated Press.
NBC told the Associated Press today that the network could not comment on any individual case, but said the team was deemed to be low-risk upon its return from Liberia and its members agreed to follow guidelines set by local health authorities.
“We fully support those guidelines and continue to expect that they be followed,” the representative said. “Our team are all well with normal temperatures, which they check multiple times a day, and they are also in daily contact with local health officials.”
The violation was first reported on Planet Princeton after several readers saw Snyderman in public. The Planet Princeton story was picked up Friday by websites that cover the media industry, including JimRomenesko,com and Mediabistro.
Several Planet Princeton readers reported seeing Snyderman in public this week. One reader allegedly saw Snyderman sitting in her car outside of the Peasant Grill in Hopewell Boro Thursday afternoon. A reader reported that a man who was with her got out of the car and went inside the restaurant to pick up a take-out order. Another man was in the back seat of her black Mercedes. Snyderman had sunglasses on and had her hair pulled back, the reader said.
Editor’s Note: Planet Princeton took the information given by readers such as the detailed descriptions of the car, and the other information and used other sourcing to verify that Snyderman had been out. Some officials talked to us for background but did not want to be on record.