All US-bound airline passengers who have been in Uganda in the 21 days before their arrival will be routed to one of five US airports for enhanced Ebola screening, the US Embassy in Uganda said Thursday.
Starting at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday, passengers will be routed to New York’s JFK airport; Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Chicago O’Hare International Airport; or Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC.
There are no cases of Ebola in the United States at this time, and “the risk of Ebola domestically is currently low,” the embassy said.
No airlines fly directly from Uganda to the United States, according to a health advisory the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted Thursday, but “travelers from or passing through affected areas in Uganda can enter the United States on flights connecting from other countries.”
“CDC is working closely with the Ministry of Health of Uganda, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners to support the response to this outbreak,” the agency said in the advisory.
There are 63 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola in Uganda, including 29 deaths, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.
“Ten health workers have been infected, and four have died,” he said, adding that four people have recovered from the virus.
Uganda declared an Ebola outbreak last month after a case of the relatively rare Sudan strain was detected in the Mubende district.
The country has experienced four Ebola outbreaks. The deadliest, in 2000, left more than 200 people dead.
Ebola is a rare but deadly disease. It has no cure, and there is no approved vaccine, although there is a concerted effort to create one.
Tedros said the vaccines used to control Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo are not effective against the type of virus circulating in Uganda.
“However, several vaccines are in various stages of development against this virus, two of which could begin clinical trials in Uganda in the coming weeks, pending regulatory and ethics approvals from the Ugandan government,” he said.
According to the CDC, a person infected with Ebola “is not contagious until symptoms appear (including fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal symptoms, and unexplained bleeding).”
The virus spreads through direct contact with body fluids and is not transmitted through airborne viral particles, the CDC says.