WASHINGTON (AP/PIX11) — Anyone coming to the United States from one of three West African nations reporting an Ebola outbreak must enter the country through one of five airports that are screening passengers for the deadly disease, including JFK and Newark, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday.
The new requirement means that people traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea who were not originally passing through one of these five airports will have to rebook their flights:
- New York’s Kennedy
- Newark Liberty
- Washington’s Dulles
- Chicago’s O’Hare
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began screening arriving passengers at those airports. Travelers coming from a region effected by Ebola were subject to secondary screening, including having their temperature taken, before they were allowed in the country.
In addition to the airport restrictions, federal officials said they are screening passengers at all airports if they have reason to believe those travelers have been in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the past 21 days.
There are no direct flights from West Africa to the United States and about 94 percent of the estimated 150 daily passengers from the region pass through those five airports.
More than 4,555 people have died from Ebola , mostly in West African nations, according to the latest numbers from the CDC.
In the U.S., one Ebola patient has died and two nurses who had direct contact with that patient have contracted the disease, which is spread through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of someone who has Ebola. It is not airborne or spread by water.
A man traveling from Liberia to the United States became the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed on U.S. soil. Thomas Eric Duncan became sick several days after arriving in Dallas and died at a hospital there.
Two nurses who treated him also contracted the illness and are recovering.