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3 Major US Airports to Begin Screening for Novel Coronavirus

JAN 17, 2020 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF
The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced the implementation of enhanced health screenings for travelers from Wuhan, China, at 3 points of entry in order to detect travelers who are potentially ill.

The CDC and CBP activity is in response to the outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China. Recent news indicates that cases have spread to Thailand and Japan.

The 3 airports where the screening will take place are New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), and Los Angeles (LAX). Around 100 staff will be deployed across the 3 airports.

In a statement on the matter, CDC officials said that risk to the American public is low overall, but emphasized the benefits of taking proactive precautionary measures.

“To further protect the health of the American public during the emergence of this novel coronavirus, CDC is beginning entry screening at three ports of entry. Investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation,” said Martin Cetron, MD, director of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.

The World Health Organization China Country Office was alerted to the pneumonia outbreak of then-unknown etiology on December 31, 2019. According to a statement on the matter, several patients were vendors or dealers in the Huanan Seafood market. On January 1, 2020 the market was closed for sanitation and disinfection.

On January 6, the CDC released a statement that included more information on symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

“As of this posting, case-patients in the cluster reportedly have had fever, difficulty breathing, and bilateral lung infiltrates on chest radiograph. For patients with similar respiratory symptoms who recently traveled to Wuhan, consider pneumonia related to the cluster and notify infection control personnel and your local health department immediately."

Clinicians should watch for the symptoms in ill patients with a history of travel to central China.

Contagion® will continue to follow the situation and provide updates as more information becomes available. 

For the most recent cases in the novel coronavirus outbreak, visit the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.
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