US airports step up screening of passengers for signs of Ebola

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US airports step up screening of passengers for signs of Ebola

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JFK airport in the US has begun stepping up the screening of travellers as the US vows to do more to prevent an Ebola outbreak.

Other American airports are also boosting their screening.

In scenes familiar now in numerous countries, medical teams are questioning passengers, especially those arriving from West Africa, and checking for high temperatures.

It means longer delays, but most passengers do not seem to mind.

“It is worth it,” said a Nigerian man at JFK. “Whatever you can do to prevent something drastic is worth it. Any inconvenience we go through, it will be worth it, for safety.”

One man arriving home from Cambodia said: “I don’t see why there would be any issues at all with that. I’d rather them be safe, at least our border be safe.”

But screening is not likely to have prevented the Liberian man Thomas Duncan from entering the country. The US’s first Ebola fatality, he had no symptoms on arrival.

His family is angry that he was not admitted during a first visit to the emergency room. He was only hospitalised two days later, and died within a week.

Josephus Weeks, the nephew of Thomas Duncan, told reporters: “When you have a patient that’s running a consistent fever of 103, even me as a medic, I wouldn’t let you out of my ambulance unless I stabilised you and got that fever down to a point, or we do a test. Especially saying that you come from Africa — Liberia – with a thick accent.”

Authorities say the Duncan case now means that doctors and hospitals are more alert to the possibility that a patient could be suffering from Ebola.