US to begin screening travellers coming from Uganda for Ebola

Visitors who have been in the African country at any point during the past 21 days will be redirected to one of five American airports for the check-up

By AP

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A medical attendant disinfects the rubber boots of a medical officer before leaving the Ebola isolation section of Mubende Regional Referral Hospital in Mubende, Uganda, on September 29, 2022. — AP
A medical attendant disinfects the rubber boots of a medical officer before leaving the Ebola isolation section of Mubende Regional Referral Hospital in Mubende, Uganda, on September 29, 2022. — AP

Published: Thu 6 Oct 2022, 10:05 PM

The United States will begin screening travellers coming from Uganda for Ebola as an additional precaution aimed at trying to prevent an outbreak in the African country from spreading, the Biden administration said Thursday.

With “no suspected, probable, or confirmed cases” of Ebola having been reported beyond Uganda, the risk in the US is seen as low right now, said a senior administration official who was not authorized to publicly discuss the screening protocols and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official described the screening move as “as an additional precaution.”


The screenings will begin rolling out immediately, with full coverage from passengers from Uganda expected to be in place by the week’s end.

Travellers who have been in Uganda at any point during the past 21-days, which is the incubation period for the virus, will be redirected to one of five American airports for Ebola screening: JFK International Airport in New York, Washington-Dulles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, Chicago-O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.


Those passengers will have a “temperature check, risk assessment, visual symptom check, and contact information verification” conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Authorities will share that Information with local health departments at the travellers' final destination. The screenings will begin rolling out immediately, with full coverage from passengers from Uganda expected to be in place by the week's end.

The administration says about 145 people per day enter the U.S. from Uganda, with most already arriving at one of the five airports, which serve as large airline hubs. Anyone scheduled to fly into a different airport will be rebooked by their airline, the administration said.

Ebola, which manifests as a viral haemorrhagic fever, is spread through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person or contaminated materials. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding.

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