MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The White House announced enhanced screenings for Ebola at five U.S. airports Wednesday.
Employees of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) will be taking the temperature of all travelers coming from West Africa at airports in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Washington D.C and Atlanta. Anyone with a temperature will be taken to the quarantine station for further evaluation.
These specific airports were chosen because 94 percent of the flights from the countries with Ebola land there.
While Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is not one of the airports with enhanced screenings, it is one of 20 airports with a secure CDC-run quarantine station for incoming passengers. It was set up in 2005 at the height of the bird flu epidemic.
Incoming international travelers at Twin Cities International told WCCO they like the idea of expanded screenings.
“I think it’s a good idea for the peace of mind of the travelers. You’re in the air for a long time and you don’t know who you are traveling with,” air traveler George Bruins said.
The countries with Ebola outbreaks also have screenings for departing passengers.
“By far the most effective screening that takes place is the screening that takes place no in the United States, but the screening that takes place in these three countries in West Africa where they are experiencing these outbreaks,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
But the case of Thomas Duncan, who died Wednesday morning of Ebola at a Dallas, Texas, Hospital, illustrates how screenings can fail. Duncan had no symptoms when he left Liberia late last month and on forms required to leave the country he reportedly lied about having contact with Ebola patients.
What is difficult with these screenings is that after a person is infected with Ebola, symptoms can exhibit themselves anywhere between two and 21 days. So, the CDC is acknowledging that even these enhanced screenings are not a 100 percent effective.