Feds to Begin Screening Passengers from Mali for Ebola Symptoms

Feds to Begin Screening Passengers from Mali for Ebola Symptoms

On Monday, the the federal government will begin screening incoming travelers from Mali for symptoms of Ebola as a Maryland doctor became the second person to die of Ebola on American soil. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its new screening measures a day before Dr. Martin Salia, a Maryland doctor who contracted the virus while working at a Sierra Leone Hospital where he was the chief medical officer, passed away at a Nebraska hospital on Monday, becoming the second person to die on American soil from the Ebola virus. Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian immigrant who also infected two Texas nurses, was the first person to be diagnosed with and die of Ebola on American soil. 

According to the Department of Homeland Security, though “there are no direct flights from Mali to the United States,” an average of 15-20 travelers, the majority of whom are “U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents returning home to America,” begin “itineraries in Mali and transit through other countries en route to the United States.” 

The Centers for Disease Control recommended the precautionary measure “because there have been a number of confirmed cases of Ebola in Mali in recent days, and a large number of individuals may have been exposed to those cases.” 

The federal government currently screens incoming travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Travelers from Mali will also be subject to the “21-day monitoring and movement protocols now in effect for travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, with twice daily temperature and symptom checks in coordination with state or local public health authorities.” The Department of Homeland Security said it would “work with the airlines to ensure re-routing for the few travelers from Mali not already scheduled to land at one of the five airports in the United States (New York JFK, Newark, Washington-Dulles, Chicago-O’Hare, and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson) already performing screening on passengers from the other affected West African nations.”