European governments will consider using visa and airline passenger data to block travel by passengers from western Africa with the potential for spreading Ebola.

The idea, floated by European Union foreign ministers today, echoes the controversial air passenger-disclosure system imposed after the September 2001 attacks to weed out potential terrorists on U.S.-bound flights.

EU governments should “consider to use in full the potential of visa information systems and transport carriers’ information to anticipate potential arrivals of disease infection,” the ministers said today in a statement at a meeting in Luxembourg.

The EU gave no details on the screening system or a deadline for setting it up. The statement also said the EU will help audit current screening systems at western African ports and airports, set up a rapid-reaction force of health experts, and boost Medevac capacity.

To contact the reporter on this story: James G. Neuger in Brussels at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at 

Tags: ebola, eu, health
Photo Credit: The EU is considering actions to take. Bobby Hidy / Flickr