WASHINGTON (WJZ) — New Ebola screening procedures are now in effect at Washington’s Dulles Airport and four other major international airports nationwide.
Derek Valcourt explains it’s an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.
By all means, the enhanced screening at Dulles does not guarantee that someone with Ebola will not get into the country. But it is, for now, giving some passengers peace of mind.
It was at Dulles Airport where Thomas Eric Duncan first went through U.S. Customs back in August before falling ill with Ebola. Now customs officials at Dulles will screen passengers coming into the U.S. from any of the three Ebola-ravaged countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. It’s a move welcomed by many flyers.
“At least it’s an attempt to do something,” said Marcia King.
The screened passengers will have their temperatures taken and be questioned about whether they were exposed to anyone with the deadly virus. If there are any red flags, the passenger will be put in a quarantine area at the airport for holding until health officials can conduct more evaluations.
“It makes me feel better, the idea that they are trying to prevent it from spreading,” said Gerlinde Paulsen.
Some flyers question whether the screening will be enough since some infected people might not show symptoms of the virus for up to 21 days.
“I think it’s probably the most we can do. I don’t know what else we can do besides take a quick temperature read. I don’t think it’s offensive, I think we should do it,” said Gail Burr.
Dulles joins JFK, Newark, Chicago and Atlanta airports with the screening. Combined, those five airports receive almost all of the passengers coming to the U.S. from West Africa.
Similar screenings began Saturday at New York’s JFK Airport. So far, no one there has shown any signs of Ebola.
U.S. officials say only about 150 people a day come to the U.S. from the three West African countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
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