WASHINGTON (AP) — Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the U.S. from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. That includes returning American aid workers, federal health employees and journalists, as well as West African travelers.
The program will start Monday in six states that represent 70 percent of people arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC Director Tom Frieden said monitoring would extend to other states in coming days and reach "every person coming back to the country for the 21 days they are at risk for Ebola." He said it would continue until the outbreak in West Africa is controlled.
"We have to keep our guard up," Frieden told reporters on a conference call.
Local and state officials will perform the daily monitoring, which may consist of keeping up with people by phone or visits. The first states are New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Georgia.
Individuals arriving from West Africa will receive "care kits" that include thermometers, detailed information on how take their temperature twice a day, and logs for recording the information. Temperatures must be reported to health officials at least once per day, he said.
Frieden said the message to travelers is: "If you become sick, get care quickly because that could save your life and protect your family."
The kits also will include information on whom to call if symptoms occur and a card the traveler can present to health care providers if they seek care.
CDC already was telling its own employees and other health professionals working in the outbreak zone to monitor their temperature for 21 days upon return, so Wednesday's announcement adds another step to their ongoing fever watch.
The new program comes after authorities announced Wednesday plans to funnel all visitors from the three nations through five airports where fever checks and other Ebola screening measures have been put in place.
An American video journalist who has recovered from Ebola left the hospital Wednesday and headed home to Providence, Rhode Island.
"Today is a joyful day," Ashoka Mukpo said in a statement released by the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The hospital said testing found him free of the virus now.
"I feel profoundly blessed to be alive, and in the same breath aware of the global inequalities that allowed me to be flown to an American hospital when so many Liberians die alone with minimal care," said Mukpo, who arrived at the Nebraska hospital Oct. 6.
The virus has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, nearly all in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Mukpo caught it while working in Liberia as a freelance cameraman for NBC and other media outlets.
Two American nurses remain hospitalized after catching the virus from a Liberian man who traveled to the U.S. before exhibiting symptoms and dying at a Dallas hospital. Because of their cases, the CDC issued more stringent safety guidelines this week and is working with states to spread them to health care workers across the country.
Debra Berry, the mother of Dallas nurse Amber Vinson, said Tuesday her daughter is "doing OK, just trying to get stronger" while being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
Fellow Dallas nurse Nina Pham's condition has been upgraded from fair to good at the National Institutes of Health outside Washington.
At the White House, President Barack Obama was meeting with his new Ebola coordinator Ron Klain and top aides Wednesday afternoon.
Under heavy criticism for the government's handling of the first Ebola case diagnosed within the U.S., Obama reached for help last week from Klain, a veteran political operator and former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden. Klain will coordinate the array of federal agencies dealing with Ebola in the U.S. and helping to tackle the crisis in West Africa.
The Obama administration has resisted increasing pressure to ban travel from the three countries at the center of the Ebola outbreak. Obama and federal health authorities say that could make the situation worse, by making it harder for foreign doctors and aid workers to get help to nations that desperately need it and can't stop the outbreak on their own.
In addition to Mukpo, three American doctors and an aide worker, all infected in Liberia or Sierra Leone, have been treated at the Nebraska Medical Center or Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, and have recovered.
Associated Press writers Mike Stobbe in New York, Emily Schmall in Dallas and Nancy Benac in Washington contributed to this report.
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A northeast Georgia hospital has been ordered to pay more than $8.4 million to settle claims of improper care to newborn boy.
The Times of Gainesville reports a Hall County State Court jury found the Northeast Georgia Medical Center at fault Tuesday for injuries sustained by 5-year-old Jakob Medley, who now has cerebral palsy.
Court documents say Medley's delivery was delayed and the boy needed immediate resuscitation after he was born. Court documents say the boy wasn't given a breathing tube until eight minutes after he was delivered.
Hospital officials said they're surprised by the jury's verdict and the boy's injuries weren't a result of the actions of hospital staff.
Attorney Gerald Jowers says the money will be put into a trust to provide for Medley's future medical needs.
NEW YORK (AP) — "Star Trek" may be the next frontier for William Shatner — again.
Shatner, who played the original James T. Kirk, says he's meeting soon with Roberto Orci, who's directing "Star Trek 3," to discuss reprising his Kirk in the rebooted franchise.
"I had a talk with him the other day," says Shatner. "So there's talk — simply talk — about the next movie."
Shatner has said J.J. Abrams, who produced and directed the 2009 "Star Trek" film and 2013 sequel, recently called to say Orci had an idea about how Shatner might be in the next film of the new franchise, which stars Chris Pine as Capt. Kirk.
Shatner says he would do the movie if it's a meaningful part, "a role that had something to do with the turning of the plot." Still, the 83-year-old actor says he's not sure how they'd bring him back now — 20 years after his character was killed off in "Star Trek: Generations."
"That was so long ago. How do they bring me back physically like this? I don't know," he says.
Shatner isn't waiting around to find out. He stars in and produces the home renovation series "The Shatner Project," which premieres on the DIY Network on Thursday (10 p.m. EDT). The six-episode series follows Shatner and his wife, Elizabeth, as they revamp the Southern California home he bought 50 years ago.
He says allowing cameras into their home was a "terrible" experience, but he's happy with the result.
Shatner is also designing a motorcycle, a clothing line, a new kind of comic book, continuing his priceline.com ads and his "Brown Bag Wine Tasting" webisodes — and has three films due out.
Ask him about retirement and he says, "What does retiring mean? It means you want to step back from what you're doing and do something else that's more interesting." With a smile, Shatner adds, "I'm in the middle of such a fertile, febrile fantasy that anybody would wish for what I'm doing."
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A gunman shot and wounded a Canadian soldier standing guard at a war memorial in the country's capital Wednesday, then entered Parliament, where numerous shots rang out, police and witnesses said.
People fled Parliament by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, witnesses said. Others were in lockdown. Police with rifles and body armor stood guard outside and blocked the normally bustling streets leading to Parliament.
Ottawa police Constable Marc Soucy said it was unclear whether there was more than one shooter.
The attack came two days after a recent convert to Islam killed one Canadian soldier and injured another in a hit-and-run before being shot to death by police. The killer had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey.
Canada had raised its domestic terror threat level from low to medium Tuesday because of "an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations," said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the public safety minister.
On Wednesday, Tony Zobl, 35, said he witnessed the soldier being gunned down from his fourth-floor window directly above the National War Memorial, a tall granite cenotaph, or empty tomb, with bronze sculptures dedicated to those who died in World War I.
"I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice," Zobl told the Canadian Press news agency.
"The honor guard dropped to the ground, and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle."
Zobl said the gunman then ran up the street toward Parliament Hill.
The wounded soldier was taken away in an ambulance. His condition was not immediately known.
Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside Parliament, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings.
"I'm safe locked in a office awaiting security," Kyle Seeback, another member of Parliament, tweeted.
The top spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill.
Shots were also fired at a shopping mall near Parliament, police said. All three sites — the war memorial, Parliament and the mall — are within less than a mile from each other.
Officials also canceled two events in Toronto honoring Pakistani teenager and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, including one in which she was supposed to receive honorary Canadian citizenship. The teenager was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for calling for schooling for girls.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and rooftops.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Michael Brown's official autopsy shows the 18-year-old was shot in the hand at close range during a struggle with the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot him, two experts said in a published report Wednesday.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained the St. Louis County medical examiner's autopsy and an accompanying toxicology report that shows Brown had used marijuana.
The newspaper reported that St. Louis medical examiner Dr. Michael Graham and another pathologist not involved in the investigation reviewed the report and said it indicates a wound to Brown's hand came at close range.
Brown and officer Darren Wilson struggled inside Wilson's SUV on Aug. 9 and Brown was shot once in the hand. Brown was killed outside the vehicle.
Graham told the Post-Dispatch that the autopsy report "does support that there was a significant altercation at the car."
Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the autopsy offers no insight into why Wilson killed Brown.
The newspaper posted a copy of the autopsy and toxicology report on its website. Medical examiner's office administrator Suzanne McCune confirmed the posted information was accurate but said her office won't officially release the documents until the investigation is complete. The newspaper did not say where it obtained the documents.
Wilson remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the shooting that has sparked sometimes violent protests in Ferguson. On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon appointed a special commission to look at how the region can move forward after the concerns raised by the shooting and its aftermath.
Wilson confronted Brown and Dorian Johnson as they walked back to Brown's home from a convenience store. After the shooting, Brown died at the scene. Some witnesses have told authorities and news media that Brown had his hands raised when Wilson approached with his weapon and fired repeatedly.
Wilson's attorney, James P. Towey, did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday.