In the Journals

US airport screening helped prevent spread of Ebola

There were 1,993 travelers returning from Ebola-stricken areas who were screened from Oct. 11 to Nov. 10 as part of the United States’ entry screening program implemented at five international airports, according to a CDC report in MMWR.

Eighty-six of the travelers were referred to the CDC for additional evaluation, and seven of those were symptomatic and referred for medical evaluation. None were diagnosed with Ebola. The travelers arrived after transit through at least one other country and had final destinations in 46 states. The most common destinations included New York (19%), Maryland (12%), Pennsylvania (11%), Georgia (9%) and Virginia (7%).

The enhanced entry screening began at JFK International Airport in New York on Oct. 11 and at four other airports — Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta — on Oct. 12. The screening initiative was a partnership between the CDC and Customs and Border Protection to identify travelers potentially exposed to Ebola and to monitor them for the 21-day incubation period of the disease.

Exit screening was implemented in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in August, with assistance from the CDC, WHO and other global partners. Since screening began, an estimated 80,000 travelers have departed by air from those three countries; none have become symptomatic with Ebola during travel.

“Effective exit screening procedures in countries with widespread transmission of Ebola helped instill confidence that persons symptomatic with Ebola would be unlikely to travel,” the CDC researchers wrote. “Humanitarian assistance is vital for combating the Ebola epidemic and reducing the risk for the disease being exported.”

There were 1,993 travelers returning from Ebola-stricken areas who were screened from Oct. 11 to Nov. 10 as part of the United States’ entry screening program implemented at five international airports, according to a CDC report in MMWR.

Eighty-six of the travelers were referred to the CDC for additional evaluation, and seven of those were symptomatic and referred for medical evaluation. None were diagnosed with Ebola. The travelers arrived after transit through at least one other country and had final destinations in 46 states. The most common destinations included New York (19%), Maryland (12%), Pennsylvania (11%), Georgia (9%) and Virginia (7%).

The enhanced entry screening began at JFK International Airport in New York on Oct. 11 and at four other airports — Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta — on Oct. 12. The screening initiative was a partnership between the CDC and Customs and Border Protection to identify travelers potentially exposed to Ebola and to monitor them for the 21-day incubation period of the disease.

Exit screening was implemented in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in August, with assistance from the CDC, WHO and other global partners. Since screening began, an estimated 80,000 travelers have departed by air from those three countries; none have become symptomatic with Ebola during travel.

“Effective exit screening procedures in countries with widespread transmission of Ebola helped instill confidence that persons symptomatic with Ebola would be unlikely to travel,” the CDC researchers wrote. “Humanitarian assistance is vital for combating the Ebola epidemic and reducing the risk for the disease being exported.”

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