Five airports across the United States will start screening passengers arriving from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during his daily briefing on Wednesday.
Earnest said that as passenger enter the country, their temperature will be taken to make sure they are not exhibiting symptoms of Ebola.
“We believe these new measures will further protect the health of Americans, understanding that nothing we can do will get us to absolute zero risk until we end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement.
The announcement comes the same day that first man diagnosed with Ebola in the United States died at a Dallas hospital. Thomas Eric Duncan flew from Liberia into the United States on Sept. 24. He exposed his family and healthcare workers to the virus, which unleashed a huge federal and state effort to contain any spread.
So far, no one has exhibited symptoms.
Earnest said the new screenings will be conducted at five airports: JFK in New York, New Jersey’s Newark, Chicago’s O’Hare airport, Washington Dulles and Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport.
Earnest said those five airports handle 94 percent of the travelers coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Update at 2:23 p.m. ET. The New Procedure:
According to a CDC press release, passengers arriving in these five airports from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will be taken to a special screening area, where Customs and Border Protection agents will take look for signs of illness, ask them a series of questions and give them information on how they should monitor themselves for symptoms.
Medical staff will then take their temperature with a non-contact thermometer.
If a person is exhibiting symptoms, they will be further evaluated by CDC officer.
“The public health officer will again take a temperature reading and make a public health assessment,” the CDC said.