Quantcast
Connect with us

New York City’s JFK airport begins enhanced Ebola screening program

Published

on

Stepped up efforts by the U.S. to halt the spread of the Ebola virus will start at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday, where teams armed with thermal guns and questionnaires will screen travelers from West African countries hit hardest by the outbreak.

JFK Airport is the first of five U.S. airports to start enhanced screening of U.S.-bound travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where most of the outbreak’s more than 4,000 deaths have occurred.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nearly all of those traveling to the United States from those countries arrive at JFK, Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta. The new procedures will begin at the other four airports next week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the airport screening is just one aspect of an overall strategy to fight the spread of Ebola.

“Because we want to protect the American public, we are taking a tiered approach,” said CDC spokesman Jason McDonald.

But even before authorities start checking passengers for fevers, critics questioned whether the screenings would prove effective at stopping travelers infected with the often fatal Ebola virus from entering the country.

ADVERTISEMENT

JFK is the U.S. entry point for nearly half of the roughly 150 travelers who arrive daily from the three West African countries, and those flights amount to about one-tenth of 1 percent of all international daily arrivals to the airport, McDonald said.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will conduct the screenings under CDC direction, McDonald said.

Using FDA-approved infrared temperature guns, the CBP staffers will check for elevated temperatures among passengers whose journeys began or included a stop in one of the three West African countries.

ADVERTISEMENT

Screeners will also assess passengers for signs of potential illness and ask them to answer questions about their health and whether they may have come into contact with an Ebola patient.

Those with a fever or other symptoms or possible exposure to Ebola will be referred to the CDC, which will determine next steps. Health authorities may decide to take a person to a hospital for evaluation, testing and treatment, or to quarantine or isolate the patient under federal law, according to the CDC.

“Breaking a federal quarantine order is punishable by fines and imprisonment,” according to the CDC’s website.

ADVERTISEMENT

But U.S. health authorities have never before used fever monitoring to screen travelers, said Lawrence Gostin, who teaches global health law at Georgetown Law School, and that monitoring didn’t work well when used in Canada and Asia during the SARS outbreak in 2002.

Fever-monitoring “had virtually no effectiveness,” he said. “It is unlikely to keep us safe.”

Taking over-the-counter medication during the flight can easily help travelers bring down a fever to evade detection, Gostin said. Passengers also could lie on questionnaires aimed at determining whether the traveler has been exposed to the deadly virus, said Dr. David Mabey, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

ADVERTISEMENT

“People may not fill them in very truthfully. They don’t want to be delayed for hours,” Mabey said.

Passengers are already screened when they depart from the three West African countries. In the two months since those screenings began, only 77 of the 36,000 screened travelers were denied boarding, the CDC said. Many of them were diagnosed later with malaria, and none with Ebola.

Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who died in Dallas this week, was able to fly to the United States from Liberia because he didn’t have a fever when screened at the airport in the capital, Monrovia. And he filled out a questionnaire saying he had not been in contact with anyone infected with Ebola. Liberian officials have said Duncan lied on the questionnaire and had been in contact with a pregnant woman who later died.

ADVERTISEMENT

Both Mabey and Gostin said it was unlikely that a person who passed the temperature screening at departure time would develop a high fever during the plane ride to the United States

But Dr. Jeffrey Griffiths, who teaches about infectious disease at Tufts University School of Medicine, said the U.S. screenings “will incrementally pick up some people” and are a valuable tool to raise awareness that early detection and treatment are key to survival.

“You want to convert yourself to a person who it’s caught in early and increase your chances of making it,” Griffiths said.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Reporting by Sebastien Malo; Additional reporting and writing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Frank McGurty, Bernard Orr)

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Has anything changed since Burning Man’s sex assault and labor issues were exposed?

Published

on

The last weekend in August marks the start of Burning Man, a week-long, festival in the Nevada desert consisting of freewheeling performance art, fanciful costumes, and a lot of drugs. The anarchic party with more than 50,000 attendees constitutes a pilgrimage for many attendees, lured by the promise of leaving the “default world” behind in exchange for a transformative or even spiritual experience.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Truckers are facing a ‘bloodbath’ in their industry — and it’s turning many in the pro-Trump group against him: report

Published

on

Truckers are numerous, conservative, and hurting. And despite their widespread support for Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2016, a new report from Business Insider suggests the pain in the industry might be turning these workers away from the president.

The political trends in trucking are not insignificant. According to the American Trucking Associations, there were an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers in 2018. RTS Financial has found that there are 7.4 million jobs total “tied to the trucking industry.” And Business Insider reported that nearly 90 percent of truckers are registered voters, higher than the general population.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

WATCH: Trump’s collusion with Russia is now a topic for impeachment — along with obstruction and racism

Published

on

President Donald Trump's interactions with Russia are now a topic of the impeachment investigation.

"There was an important development in support for impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives today," MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported Tuesday. "Important both in who the new support comes from and what that support is based on."

"Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of Illinois is one of the freshmen Democrats who flipped a Republican district last year in winning her election. She brings the total number of House Democrats supporting impeachment now to 126 -- a majority of the Democrats' 235 members of the House," he explained.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image