Since the Ebola outbreak that devastated West Africa, the World Health Organization has advised the screening of passengers in the airports all over the United States.
The screening of passengers at airports began in August and a total of 80.000 passengers have been subjects of such protocols so far. These screenings were focused on people who were travelling from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The precautions taken at airports consisted in taking the temperature of passengers and asking a series of questions about symptoms related to Ebola such as headaches, fever, diarrhea and vomiting.
As a response to questions related to these security measures taken by several airports since the screenings were implemented, the United States Centers for Disease Control published their reports in the MMWR.
Passengers who were reported leaving countries affected by this disease or those who came in direct contact with patients diagnosed with Ebola were not allowed to fly. Reports have shown that none of those who were denied to board an airplane from the countries that were most affected by Ebola have been diagnosed with this disease, except for Dr. Craig Spencer and Thomas Duncan, who developed the disease after their arrival on U.S soil.
This report filed by CDC has shown that passengers who flew from one of the countries from West Africa mentioned above, were asked to board flights that landed at one of the airports where experts would conduct the screening, thus since October 11 every flight heading for the United States was to land at John F. Kennedy airport in New York, Washington-Dulles International Airport or Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Hartsfield Jackson Altanta International Airport.
Health officials stationed at each one of these airports that were stationed there to conduct the screening procedures asked the passengers to monitor their temperature for 21 days which is the incubation period for the virus and then report the findings to the officials from local health centers. Trained personnel was provided for each of these airports and offered passengers a kit that would allow them to record their temperature and provided information about the procedures to be followed if symptoms were developed.
In just one month after these screenings began, health officials have conducted these procedures on 993 people travelling from West Africa and 4.3 percent of them were sent to CDC for additional testing. Reports show that seven passengers showed symptoms of Ebola and were directed to medical facilities, but fortunately none of them developed the disease.
In other reports, experts said that the most efficient way to prevent a full scale epidemic is by trying to stop this outbreak at its source. Officials at the CDC Response Team discovered that none of the centers dedicated to infectious disease control had no supervisor to ensure that doctors followed procedures such as isolating infected patients or wearing protective gear. Even more, the centers had insufficient trained personnel for treating patients or lacked facilities to provide clean water, substances used in sanitization of contaminated tools or even incinerators used to destroy medical waste.