Federal officials are implementing Ebola virus temperature screenings for passengers arriving from West Africa, at five American airports. They are beginning with Kennedy International Airport in New York within the next few days. According to officials, travelers at Washington Dulles International, O’Hare International, Hartsfield-Jackson International and Newark Liberty International will begin screening starting next week. Screenings will include taking temperatures with a infrared beam thermometer and requiring passengers to fill out after deplaning, for people arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which are the three countries, hardest hit by the epidemic.
The C.D.C will send personnel to airports to perform the screenings and Coast Guard members will be deployed to help in the coming weeks.
The screenings are a shift in administration policy from last week, when White House officials and doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resisted calls for trying to take passengers’ temperature as they entered the United States.
In an interview last week, Dr. Frieden, the director of the C.D.C., questioned the wisdom of such an approach, saying that the result would be a great number of “false positives” from people who had fevers because of illnesses other than Ebola.
He questioned who would be trained to take the temperatures, and he said he worried about where people with temperatures would be held temporarily in the airport. “Like any intervention, there are upsides and downsides,” Dr. Frieden said at the time. “There are a lot of downsides. You slow travel, you end up costing people money. Who’s going to get screened? Who’s going to train them? If you have a positive, where are you going to bring them to?”
He added: “The plain truth is we can’t make the risk zero until the outbreak is controlled in West Africa. What we can do is minimize that risk, as is being done now in Dallas.”
Top10MD – Know The Symptoms of EBOLA
Symptoms show up 2 to 21 days after infection and usually include:
- High fever
- Joint and muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
- Lack of appetite