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New Ebola screening leaves some flights untouched

Even with the enhanced screening measures that the federal government started rolling out Saturday, it will still be possible for travelers from West Africa nations battling the deadly Ebola outbreak to arrive in the U.S. without going through the new screening.

While all air travelers leaving the outbreak-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are checked for Ebola symptoms before they depart, they can fly into such cities as Boston, Dallas and Philadelphia without receiving additional screening upon arrival, Dow Jones' MarketWatch reported Friday.

The website looked at online travel sites and found itineraries that connect through Europe to U.S. cities not covered by the measures that went into effect at Kennedy International Airport in New York City Saturday morning.

The additional screening includes observing passengers for symptoms, taking their temperature with a non-contact thermometer and having them fill out a health questionnaire. A public health officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will assess passengers who have a fever, exhibit symptoms or if their answers show that they may have been exposed to the disease.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conduct enhanced screening for the Ebola virus at Kennedy International Airport in New York Oct. 11, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conduct enhanced screening for the Ebola virus at Kennedy International Airport in New York Oct. 11, 2014.
Donna Burton/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The government expects the new measures to cover approximately 95 percent of travelers from the countries hit by the outbreak.

The measures were announced following Wednesday's death of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who arrived in Dallas from Liberia after layovers in Brussels and Washington Dulles International Airport, another of the five U.S. airports where the new measures will be put into effect. Duncan didn't start exhibiting symptoms until after he arrived in Dallas.

In announcing the new measures, the CDC and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency noted that nearly half of travelers who arrived in the U.S. from the affected West Africa countries between July 2013 and last July came through Kennedy Airport. Officials said about 150 people per day travel to the U.S. who have been in those countries.

On Thursday, the enhanced screenings are expected to begin at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Dulles.