Flights to the US from two African countries with recent Ebola outbreaks will now be routed exclusively through six airports – including JFK and Newark – to better track and stop the spread of the deadly disease, officials said.
“The airlines will collect passenger information and submit it to CDC for public health tracking and interventions for all passengers boarding a flight to the US who have been in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [Democratic Republic of the Congo] or Guinea within the last 21 days, ”said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on their website.
The agency said it was implementing the measure, which will come into force on Wednesday, “out of great caution”, even though the risk of a potentially fatal viral disease is “extremely low”.
“The outbreaks are concentrated in remote areas of these countries,” said the CDC. “The Biden government is keen to work closely with the affected countries to stop these outbreaks before they become epidemics.”
The other airports to which flights are routed are Washington-Dulles International, Atlanta Hartsfield, Chicago O’Hare, and Los Angeles International.
Doctors prepare medication at Matanda Hospital in Butembo, North Kivu Province, Congo.AP
Almost all of these passengers are already arriving at these airports, the CDC said.
The agency said travelers “can expect a review of the dates on arrival to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the contact information. This information is shared with the US state and local authorities to properly monitor arrivals in their jurisdiction. “
Guinea, which was on the forefront of the Ebola epidemic in 2014, confirmed that three people had died from the virus there in mid-February, according to USA Today.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the first Ebola vaccine for use in the United States in 2019.
The disease can spread quickly from infected people once they show symptoms, which include fever, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.
The agency said travelers “can expect a review of the dates on arrival to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the contact information”.AP
Eleven people were treated for Ebola in the United States during the West African outbreak from 2014 to 2016, and two died.
On Tuesday, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said health officials want to be able to track travelers arriving from the two countries with current outbreaks.
To do this, they need “instant access to accurate and complete contact information for travelers arriving in the US,” Walensky said, according to NorthJersey.com.