Tags: Ebola Outbreak | travel | virus | airports

Report: Ebola Airport Screenings Won't Work

By    |   Friday, 31 Oct 2014 06:48 PM

Past attempts to identify travelers carrying pandemic-scale viruses such as swine flu suggest that temperature checks at U.S. airports will do little against Ebola, Government Executive magazine reports in an article cited by the Washington Post.

Government Executive, looking at National Institutes of Health (NIH) research on previous disease-screening efforts at travel hubs, cast doubt on the effectiveness of Ebola-related travel restrictions imposed on Oct. 21 by the Department of Homeland Security, the Post reports.

Homeland Security officials ordered all commercial air passengers arriving here from Ebola-stricken countries in west Africa — where the disease has killed as many as 5,000 people — to land only at one of five designated U.S. airports.

Those travelers are required to have their temperatures checked and answer questions about their travels and activities.

The airport order was the Obama administration's stepped-up response after criticism of an earlier decision to encourage — but not require — arrivals from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to come through designated airports.

Even so, Government Executive concluded that "the measures will likely do little to keep the virus out of the United States."

Similar protocols in Australia and Japan did not stop a global swine flu outbreak in 2009, according to the NIH research. Screening at Australia's Sydney Airport, for example, detected only three swine flu cases in the same two months that an estimated 45 infected people passed through the airport undetected.

"That means the screeners likely missed the vast majority of individuals who arrived at the facility with Swine Flu, despite grabbing thousands of travelers who showed signs of fever," the Post reports.

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Past attempts to identify travelers carrying pandemic-scale viruses such as swine flu suggest that temperature checks at U.S. airports will do little against Ebola, Government Executive magazine reports in an article cited by the Washington Post.
travel, virus, airports
263
2014-48-31
Friday, 31 Oct 2014 06:48 PM
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