ROMULUS (WWJ) — Travelers arriving from West Africa are now subject to extra screening for signs of Ebola at some U.S. airports. Screeners will check the temperature of travelers arriving from the affected region starting Saturday at New York’s Kennedy International Airport.
The checks will expand to four other major airports, but not Detroit Metro. Airport spokesman Mike Conway, though, said that the airport is equipped to handle any problems.
“Actually, the Center for Disease Control operates a quarantine station here at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and has for years,” Conway said. “They operate quarantine stations with the top 20 U.S. gateways — the C.D.C is responsible for monitoring arriving international flights if there’s report of a sick passenger.”
The program will expand over the next week to include airports in New Jersey, Washington D.C., Chicago and Atlanta, which handle nearly 95 percent of travelers from the stricken region. Conway said that anyone arriving in Detroit from West Africa will have made several stops throughout the airport.
“If a passenger in exhibiting symptoms, our C.D.C. and our fire department here in Detroit know how to take the temperature of an arriving passenger who is exhibiting feverish symptoms,” Conway said. “[They know] how to isolate them and how to handle them correctly — transport them to a hospital that is set up to quarantine passengers.”
This latest Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,000 people in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“If there’s report of a sick passenger, they can observe people,” Conway said. “Those who are exhibiting symptoms, they can report to the C.D.C. and they respond. Everybody who arrives on an international flight goes through Customs and Border Protection screening, so they have the opportunity as well.”