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Screening for possible Ebola symptoms at U.S. airports for travelers from West Africa is under review by the Obama administration, health officials told CNN today.
In advance of a meeting on the Ebola outbreak at the White House this afternoon, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, said U.S. agencies are discussing adding to passenger screenings now being conducted in the African nations stricken by the disease.
“We’re looking at all options to protect Americans because that’s our No. 1 priority,” Frieden said.
Frieden told the network that the U.S. has seen more than 40,000 visitors from West Africa in the past six months. In that time, only one passenger has been found to have Ebola. That man, Thomas Eric Duncan, is in critical condition at a Dallas hospital and people who came into contact with him are being monitored for symptoms.
“We need to look exactly at what would be done, how it will be done,” Frieden said. There are many operational details to be worked out, he said, such as which agencies would conduct the screenings.
President Barack Obama’s administration has resisted calls to cancel flights to the U.S. from West Africa. Frieden said that isolating the countries that way would fuel the outbreak and raise the possibility it spreads to other nations.
“Something we might do out of the best of intentions of Americans might actually increase Americans’ risk,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Wasserman in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at email@example.com.