U.S. will divert travelers who have been to Uganda to 5 airports as Ebola outbreak worsens



No suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola have been reported in the U.S.

The FAA could not immediately provide a list of how many flights from Uganda head stateside on a daily basis, but foreign carriers such as KLM and Emirates offer flights to multiple American destinations.

The screening will include a temperature check, risk assessment, visual symptom check and contact information verification. The passengers’ contact information will be shared with state and local health departments so those authorities can follow-up with the people who are in their areas.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra called Jane Aceng Ocero, the Ugandan health minister, on Thursday to say that the U.S. is ready to “support Uganda through this challenging period,” according to a department statement.

The outbreak is caused by the so-called Sudan virus, against which existing Ebola vaccines and treatments don’t work. The Ebola vaccine licensed for use in the U.S. by the FDA is indicated for a different Ebola virus, and is not expected to protect against Sudan virus or other viruses in the Ebolavirus genus, according to the CDC.

During the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, in which more than 11,000 people died, 11 people were treated in the United States.

Similar protocols were put in place in 2014 for passengers from several countries where the virus was spreading after the first Ebola case was identified in the U.S. Between Oct. 11 and Nov. 10 that year, 1,993 travelers were screened, and some were medically evaluated, but none were diagnosed with Ebola, according to the CDC.

The CDC ramped up its surveillance in Uganda after the first case in this outbreak was identified and is now working in all five districts affected by the virus. The agency has also been working with the Ugandan health ministry to contact trace new infections and train hundreds of community health workers.

It has also been working with airlines, airports and ministries of health in countries affected by the outbreak to provide technical assistance.

In the U.S, the CDC sent out a health alert earlier on Thursday cautioning practitioners to look for signs of Ebola and keep in mind patients’ recent travel history.

“Early consideration of [Ebola] in the differential diagnosis is important for providing appropriate and prompt patient care, diagnostics, and to prevent the spread of infection,” the agency said.

Carmen Paun contributed to this report.

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