CNN: “Ebola prompts talk of enhanced screening at U.S. airports”

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CNN is reporting today (source link):  Screening could soon be upped at U.S. airports because of the Ebola outbreak, a federal official said Sunday.

“All options are on the table for further strengthening the screening process here in the U.S., and that includes trying to screen people coming in from Ebola-affected countries with temperature checks,” the source said.

The official added: “It’s not as easy as it sounds. There aren’t that many direct flights from Ebola-affected countries to the U.S. anymore. Many passengers are arriving on connecting flights from other parts of the world, and then they come here, so that makes it more of a challenge.”

The source spoke the same day the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN that he is confident there is little risk of an Ebola outbreak in Dallas, where one infected patient is fighting for his life.

Dr. Tom Frieden said on “State of the Union” that the CDC is concerned about family members who had “very close contact” with the victim but that they were being monitored constantly.

“That’s how you stop it in its tracks. That’s why we’re confident we won’t see a large number of cases from this,” he told CNN’s Candy Crowley.

Relatives will be monitored for 21 days from their last contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the only patient to develop Ebola in the United States. If any of them gets a fever, he or she will be isolated, Frieden said.

“That’s how we break the chain of transmission, and that’s what is going to make sure that we don’t have a large outbreak in Dallas or elsewhere in the U.S.,” he added.

About 10 people are at “higher risk” of catching Ebola after coming into contact with Duncan but have showed no symptoms, health officials said. Three of them are family members, and seven are health-care workers, who are now on paid leave.

The group is among 50 people being monitored daily, but the other 40 are considered “low risk,” Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said Saturday.

A homeless man who was on the low-risk list was found Sunday after a nearly day-long search.

After being checked by medical workers and being told to stay where he was, the man left, and authorities began to look for him. He was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas on Sunday, according to the official Twitter account of Sana Syed, a spokeswoman for the city of Dallas.

His temperature was normal, and he was not showing symptoms of Ebola before he disappeared, officials said.
Authorities also found Sunday two other contacts of Duncan’s they had previously been unable to locate, a federal official said. The two people, in addition to the homeless man, were in the same ambulance as Duncan on the same day. All three are considered low risk, but authorities want to monitor them for 21 days, said the official.

Who’s in charge of stopping Ebola in the U.S.?
Duncan is in critical condition, a Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital spokeswoman said Saturday.

The Liberian national had previously been listed as being in serious condition. Hospital spokeswoman Candace White offered no new details other than his condition.

Duncan arrived in Dallas on September 20 and started feeling sick days later. He made his initial visit to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 25.

He was released with antibiotics but went back three days later and was quickly isolated. A blood test Tuesday confirmed that he had Ebola.

“We’ve been very busy the last 24 hours trying to make sure that everyone who has had potential exposure is identified and they have been evaluated,” Lakey said.


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