Modifications to Enhanced Entry Airport Screening for Travelers from Sierra Leone to the United States
For Immediate Release: Monday, November 9, 2015
Contact: Media Relations, Office of Communication
On November 10, 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will modify enhanced Ebola port-of-entry screening for travelers from Sierra Leone. This follows CDC’s lowering of its Travel Health Notice from a Warning Level 3 to an Alert Level 2 (practice enhanced precautions), on November 2, 2015. On November 7, 2015, the World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone free of Ebola virus transmission. This date marked 42 days (two 21-day incubation periods) after the release of the last patient with Ebola from a Sierra Leone Ebola treatment unit (ETU).
Travelers from Sierra Leone entering the United States will continue to be funneled through one of five U.S. airports conducting enhanced entry screening (New York JFK, Washington-Dulles, Newark International, Chicago O’Hare, and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson). Travelers from Sierra Leone will continue to have their temperatures taken and answer questions about travel history and possible exposures to Ebola. Travelers will also provide their contact information so that the health department at their destination can connect with them, if needed. Under the modified entry screening, travelers from Sierra Leone with no enhanced risk factors will receive a version of the CARE kit that includes information about Ebola, a thermometer, and contact information for state and local health departments. Travelers will be encouraged to watch their health for 21 days after leaving Sierra Leone and to contact their local health departments if they develop symptoms consistent with Ebola. Travelers from Sierra Leone will no longer need to be actively monitored by or be in daily contact with their health departments. We will continue to evaluate the need for continued screening of travelers from Sierra Leone at regular intervals in order to consider whether additional step-down measures may be warranted.
Travelers leaving Sierra Leone will continue to be screened and the United States will continue to support Sierra Leone’s Ebola prevention and detection measures, including at its primary international airport.
Full screening and monitoring measures remain in place for travelers entering the United States from Guinea. This includes travelers from Sierra Leone who have also traveled to Guinea within the previous 21 days.