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U.S. to screen passengers from West Africa for Ebola at 5 airports

October 8, 2014, 7:19 PM UTC
U.S. South Hit By Crippling Winter Storm
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 10: The security lines (background) remain empty as delayed passengers find places to sit around Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after a snow storm on January 10, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency because of snowfall and ice across Atlanta and Georgia. A winter storm stretched across the Southeast as freezing rain and sleet followed on the heels of a heavy snow that blanketed the region. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Photo by Jessica McGowan—Getty Images

This post is in partnership with Time. The article below was originally published at

By Zeke J. Miller, TIME

Border control agents at five airports will screen the temperatures of airline passengers trying to enter the United States from three West African countries heavily hit by the Ebola epidemic, the White House confirmed Wednesday.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the extra layer of screening will apply to travelers at John F Kennedy Airport in New York, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Tests would be conducted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard, Earnest said, while “[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] officials will also be on hand if a response is necessary.”

“We think that the risk of an outbreak here in the United States is incredibly low,” Earnest said, just hours after the first patient to be diagnosed with the deadly disease in the U.S. died.

Earnest said about 150 people fly through those airports from affected West African countries every day, accounting for “94% of individuals who travel to the U.S. from the three countries currently affected by Ebola right now.” Earnest said existing screening procedures on the ground in West Africa had prevented “dozens” of would-be travelers who displayed Ebola-like symptoms.