Ebola outbreaks in DRC, Guinea prompt CDC rules for air passengers
The CDC said it will begin requiring airlines to collect information from air travelers entering the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea, where two separate Ebola outbreaks are ongoing.
The CDC also said that the U.S. government will funnel air passengers from the two countries through particular airports.
Beginning Thursday, airlines will be required to collect and report contact information to the CDC for all travelers who have been in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or Guinea within 21 days of their arrival in the U.S., the CDC said. It said the information will be shared with U.S. state and local health departments so they can “appropriately monitor arrivals in their jurisdiction.”
“Timely public health follow-up requires health officials to have immediate access to accurate and complete contact information for travelers as they arrive in the United States,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, said in a press release. “Inaccurate or incomplete contact information reduces the ability of public health authorities to swiftly protect the health of travelers and the public. Any delay in contacting exposed individuals can increase the likelihood of disease spread.”
The CDC also announced that travelers from the DRC or Guinea will be redirected to six U.S. airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New York and Washington D.C. According to the CDC, more than 96% of travelers from the countries already arrive at these locations.
Health officials declared the outbreaks last month. To date 11 cases and four deaths have been reported in the DRC, whereas 15 cases and six deaths have been reported in Guinea. According to WHO, vaccination campaigns are ongoing in both locations.