Here’s What Will Happen If You Refuse an Ebola Screening at an American Airport

Sherry Yates Young LPN/Shutterstock.com

Hours after Thomas Eric Duncan died of Ebola in Dallas the Obama administration announced new measures of protection against the virus at five major US airports: passengers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where much of the outbreak has occurred, will have to undergo new screenings.

And if you refuse, you could face up to three weeks in quarantine; non-US citizens could be sent home. While the airports will have special quarantine areas, officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have yet to confirm if that is where the people will be held. Quarantine Public Health Officers will also be present at airports to assist passengers and help them understand quarantine measures, CDC Public Affairs Director Barbara Reynolds told Yahoo News.

The five airports—in Newark, Washington DC, Chicago, New York City, and Atlanta—are where 94% of those arriving from those western African countries enter the US. Screening will begin in New York on Saturday; at the other airports, it will start next week. Passengers will be examined for Ebola symptoms, questioned to see if they could potentially have been exposed to the virus, and have their temperatures checked.

In 2003, the US implemented greater health checks at airports during the SARS epidemic, although no temperatures were taken. At Los Angeles International Airport, a major hub for flights from Asia, officials screened passengers for SARS symptoms. And during the 2005 bird flu (H5N1 virus) scare, then president Bush authorized quarantine measures against passengers who potentially had the disease; airports, then ill-equipped, had to scramble to find quarantine-suitable facilities.

(Image via Sherry Yates Young LPN/Shutterstock.com)

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