U.S. will screen people arriving from Uganda for Ebola as East African nation battles outbreak

Doctors walk inside the Ebola isolation section of Mubende Regional Referral Hospital, in Mubende, Uganda, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.

Hajarah Nalwadda | AP

The U.S. will rout and screen passengers for Ebola at five designated airports if they have traveled in Uganda within three weeks prior to their arrival, federal officials said on Thursday.

Uganda, a nation in East Africa, is battling a deadly outbreak of Ebola with 63 confirmed and probable cases and 29 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. No cases of Ebola have been reported in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The U.S. Embassy in Uganda, in a health alert Thursday, said passengers who have been in the East African nation within 21 days of their arrival in the U.S. will be routed to one of five airports: New York JFK, Newark, Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare or Washington Dulles.

Passengers arriving from Uganda at those airports will undergo temperature checks and verification of their contact data, a federal health official said. Airlines will send passenger information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so the agency can conduct health follow ups, the official said. Contact information will also be sent to state health departments so they can conduct follow ups locally.

Uganda is battling an outbreak caused by a strain of Ebola called Sudan ebolavirus. The virus spreads through direct contact with body fluids of a person who has fallen ill with the virus or died from it, as well as infected animals and contaminated objects, according to CDC. Ebola does not spread through airborne transmission, the health agency said.

There is no vaccine licensed by the Food and Drug Administration to protect against the Sudan ebolavirus strain. The FDA approved a vaccine to combat Zaire ebolavirus based on animal studies, but it’s not expected to protect against the Sudan strain, according to CDC. There is also no FDA approved treatment for Sudan ebolavirus.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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