A new trend in travel is showing that the Centers for Disease Control’s initiative to screen passengers at five international airports is a positive measure.
The number of clients that Passport Health sees going to West Africa has dropped 67% for the month of September, and this statistic has been in overall decline for most of the third-quarter. The two countries impacted most are Guinea and Liberia, to which travel has declined 66.5% and 44%, respectively, over the last two months. In other words, far fewer US residents are making a trip to West Africa, in light of the health situation there.
“We feel the CDC is taking the necessary precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of Ebola,” says Melanie Kohr, Vice-President of Clinic Operations for Passport Health. “With travel to and from Africa on the decline for Western tourists, these testing measures will be very helpful in identifying anyone with the disease while not stalling air travel to the region or causing delays that could hurt domestic air travel. It’s about striking a balance, and the CDC seems to be doing it well.”
The CDC plans to test the temperature of everyone coming into the five airports that have been shown to service almost 95% of travelers from West Africa in hopes that they will be able to identify anyone already showing symptoms of the virus before it is able to spread and potentially infect people in the United States.
The five airports instituting screenings are: JFK in New York and New Jersey’s Newark, Chicago’s O’Hare, Washington Dulles and Atlanta’s Hartsfield airports.
While Passport Health will not be involved in the screening process, the company was a first responder to the 2001 Anthrax attacks and has participated in numerous vaccine trials and public health initiatives, including FluFree.com which helps educate users about the flu and bolster immunization rates.
Ebola is a highly dangerous virus that can produce symptoms anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure. It causes fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and it can lead to death. The first case of the virus in the United States was documented in Dallas, TX, just a few weeks ago. No other cases have been confirmed. This outbreak of the virus originated in the jungles of Western Africa, and the current outbreak has infected more than 7,500 people and killed nearly half of them.
For more information on Ebola and what you can do to prevent it in your travels, contact a Passport Health Travel Specialist via our website or by calling 1-888-499-PASS (7277).