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US airport screening finds few Ebola suspects, 1993 tested out of 80,000

US airport screening finds few Ebola suspects, 1993 tested out of 80,000

WASHINGTON:  Airport exit screening in West Africa and entry screening in the United States have identified few persons potentially infected with Ebola virus, according to the report.

Total 80,000 travelers who have departed from West Africa since Ebola-specific screening began, 1993 people have been screened on arrival at one of five US airports. Of those, 86 passengers were referred to the CDC public health officers; only seven have shown symptoms and been referred for evaluation. None eventually wound up with an Ebola diagnosis.

Clive M. Brown, MBBS, from the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, and colleagues analyzed data from August through October for exit screening in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, plus data from five US airports from October 11 through November 10.

The five US airports (John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, Washington-Dulles International, Chicago O’Hare International, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International) handle an estimated 94% of all travelers arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea within the past 21 days before onset of Ebola-specific screening. The US Department of Homeland Security has recently directed all such passengers to use one of these airports.

From those airports, travelers went to destinations in 46 states, most commonly New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Virginia.

The World Health Organization recommends that exit screening in West Africa consist of a passenger taking a health questionnaire, getting a temperature measurement, and if febrile, being assessed whether the fever is likely to be caused by Ebola.

The CDC has worked to help individual countries tailor procedures to their own specific needs. In the United States, the frontline US Customs and Border Patrol and Protection agents inspect all arriving passengers and report suspected cases to the CDC for evaluation.

US screening also began November 17 of passengers from Mali after reports of confirmed Ebola cases in that country.