Updated 07:30 AM EST, Thu, Dec 02, 2021

Ebola Virus Outbreak 2014 News & Update: U.S. Airport Screenings, CDC Says Airborne Ebola Unlikely, But Possible

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Despite the fear surrounding the spread of the Ebola virus in recent days, federal health officials believe that they have enough means to combat the disease and prevent an outbreak in the United States.

As part of the U.S.' measures to prevent those with the disease from interacting with the general public, temperature screenings of flights arriving from West Africa will begin this weekend at five American airports, starting with Kennedy International in New York.

The other four airports--Washington Dulles Int'l, O'Hare Int'l, Hartsfield Jackson Int'l and Newark Liberty Int'l--will start their screening process next week according to federal officials who spoke with The New York Times.

These airports collectively serve 90 percent of people arriving from West African countries, where the outbreak of Ebola has been centered and has killed more then 3,400 and infected as many as 6,700 (cont'd below).

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The screenings will include passengers submitting to getting their temperatures taken with a gun-like, non-contact thermometer and filling out a questionnaire after departing from the plane.

The first case of Ebola in the U.S. was recorded earlier this week. Despite being treated in isolation after being diagnosed in Texas, Eric Duncan died early Wednesday in Dallas. He is believed to have lied during a screening when he departed Liberia for the U.S. This put him and others that he may have been in contact with at risk of becoming infected with the virus.

There is a high mortality rate for Ebola; however, David Trump, chief deputy commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health, said that the U.S. still has more than adequate means to fight the disease.

"It's new; it's scary; it's different." Trump told the Washington Post. "Ebola is a different virus, a different disease, but what we do to protect citizens is no different."

Though there is a low likelihood of the virus spreading by air, health experts say that they are prepared for any eventuality.

At a press conference, Trump and Joxel Garcia, director of the D.C. Department of Health, emphasized that health departments have invested heavily in monitoring systems that can successfully identify at-risk individuals and those who have been in contact with them.

"I am very confident that if we had a case in the District, in the region, we'd be able to stop it," Garcia said.

As part of earlier screening initiatives, three possible cases for Ebola were identified; two in the District and one in Montgomery County. All three patients tested negative for the disease.

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