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U.S. to Monitor Air Travelers From African Nations With Ebola

MONDAY, March 1, 2021 -- Air travelers arriving in the United States from two African nations where the Ebola virus is starting to circulate will be channeled to six airports beginning this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The agency said airlines "will collect and transmit passenger information to CDC for public health follow-up and intervention for all passengers boarding a flight to the U.S. who were in DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] or Guinea within the previous 21 days. This information will be shared with U.S. state and local health departments to appropriately monitor arrivals in their jurisdiction."

As of Feb. 25, Guinea had nine Ebola cases resulting in five deaths, and the DRC had eight cases, resulting in four deaths, according to the World Health Organization. In a statement, the CDC said that the Ebola "outbreaks are centered in remote areas of these countries," and that "the risk of Ebola to the United States is extremely low," CBS News reported.

A source familiar with the decision said John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., O'Hare in Chicago, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, Los Angeles International Airport, and Newark Liberty outside New York were all being considered as monitoring points. The CDC did not specify which airports it plans to use, CBS News reported. This funneling approach harkens back to 2014 when travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea were directed to five of those airports, where they had their temperature taken upon arrival.

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