The Biden administration announced Thursday that travelers entering the United States from Uganda would be screened for Ebola as the disease spreads across the African country.
Currently, Ebola cases outside Uganda have not been reported; however, the disease is highly contagious and spreads through bodily fluids. Although the risk of Ebola spreading beyond Uganda to the U.S. is low, American health officials are worried due to the lack of approved vaccines or treatments for the virus.
Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued the directive for airport screenings. The State Department ensured additional measures for travelers from Uganda that will also apply to U.S. citizens.
If an individual has traveled to Uganda within the last 21 days, then they will be redirected to five American airports for Ebola screening, including JFK International Airport, Washington-Dulles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago-O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
The CDC will conduct temperature and symptoms checks for each passenger as well as contact information verification. The agency will share the information with the local health departments when the travelers return to home.
The administration notes that approximately 145 people travel from Uganda to the U.S. per day, and therefore, the directive will begin rolling out immediately. If an individual is set to fly to a different airport, then their flights will be rebooked by the airline, according to the administration.
While screenings have begun, travel restrictions will not go into effect until next week, according to the New York Times. Uganda currently has 44 confirmed cases of Ebola, with 10 deaths, making it one of the largest Ebola outbreaks in decades.
Common symptoms of Ebola generally appear in the form of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, and internal and external bleeding in certain cases.