US ramps up Ebola surveillance at major airports to screen travelers; Bahamas goes on high alert against lethal virus
The current outbreak is centered in Africa, which has already witnessed more than 1,800 deaths and over 2,700 infected cases.
Airports in Washington DC, Los Angeles, and California are beefing up their surveillance against Ebola. While there is no outbreak in the US, the enhanced Ebola screening is meant to test people entering the US from Ebola-affected countries.
The increased surveillance comes at a time when Bahamas is on 'high alert' against Ebola since Hurricane Dorian passed over the country in September 2019. The country saw an influx of international support groups to provide relief assistance.
The outbreak is centered in Central Africa, which has already witnessed more than 1,800 deaths and more than 2,700 infected cases.
The virus is deadly and kills up to 90% of its victims. Since it can also resemble other tropical diseases, like dengue with its high fever, Ebola can sometimes be missed in its early stages.
To ramp up screening efforts, Washington Dulles International Airport has already hired part-time staff to screen travelers for the Ebola virus, an administrative coordinator at the Northern Virginia Emergency Medical Services Council (NVEMSC), told Daily Mail.
Others have put out job postings. In August, openings appeared on LinkedIn and Careerbuilder.com, made by several groups that appear to contract with the US government, including Caduceus Healthcare. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was recently in search of a nurse to oversee 'biothreat responses,' which includes Ebola, reported the Epoch Times.
Some job postings highlighted that those traveling back from Ebola-affected nations must be screened for the virus by checking vital signs, temperature and having passengers filling [sic] out questionnaires. Some others said screeners will not be required to have direct contact with passengers but will test blood or perhaps saliva samples for the virus.
The largest outbreaks have occurred in Western and Central Africa, but Ebola has not spread to rich countries yet. During the 2014-2016 outbreak, the virus managed to infect 11 people in the US, killing one. However, the virus has not spread since.
The virus was not expected to spread during the 2014-2016 outbreak. "We do not anticipate this will spread in the US if an infected person is hospitalized here", the former CDC Director Tom Frieden had earlier said. He added that American health workers are trained to handle such cases, allowing the disease to be contained and controlled.