The international response to the West African Ebola outbreak has affected travel by air, rail and cruise ship and the news that a nurse who treated the first Ebola victim to die in the United States flew commercially has created fears of a further spread here as she was allowed to fly even with a fever that she reported to the CDC and they cleared her to fly.
This article is going to explain how Ebola has affected traveling and what you need to know in order to either avoid traveling or what to expect when you do travel.
How are air travelers being screened in the United States?
Enhanced screening measures are in effect at five major airports for passengers arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, including temperature checks and detailed questioning on arrival.
The screenings are taking place at Kennedy International in New York, Washington Dulles International, O’Hare International, Hartsfield-Jackson International and Newark Liberty International. Passengers are also subjected to detailed questioning upon their arrival.
Passengers entering the United States from other countries will continue to be screened by customs agents, who examine travelers for visible signs of illness and distribute fact sheets to those who have traveled in West African nations affected by the outbreak.
In addition, the T.S.A. is providing guidance to airlines on how to identify passengers who are ill.
Travel within the United States is restricted only for people being monitored after exposure to the virus, according to the C.D.C. Those who have had a certain level of contact with an Ebola patient must adhere to “controlled movement,” which bans travel by commercial plane, long-distance bus or train, and requires that public health authorities be notified of any travel plans.
The nurse who treated Mr. Duncan did advise public health officials of her fever before she flew but was cleared to fly, an official with the agency said. Which makes you wonder if these rules are in place why was the nurse cleared to fly?
This should worry you as it seems our public transportation is not safe even though there are rules in place and our own CDC cleared an infected person to fly even after she reported having a fever and worked at the hospital with the other nurse who contracted Ebola by treating the man who entered the United States with Ebola.
Airlines follow general guidelines issued by the C.D.C. and the World Health Organization. They have also informed their flight attendants about the hazards of Ebola, its symptoms and how the disease is spread and hopefully that stops any potential outbreak in the United States.
A few officials, including House Speaker John A. Boehner, have suggested banning flights to and from affected countries, but the Obama administration has so far dismissed the idea, saying that a ban could slow the flow of aid there. Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said that restricting travel to affected nations could drive traffic into other parts of Africa, making it even harder to contain and eliminate the virus.
In addition to airlines having travel restrictions in place and monitoring everyone that enters the United States, several cruise lines have voluntarily altered their routes to avoid the West African coast.