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Another Possible Ebola Scare In NYC As New Screenings Start At JFK

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New screenings are in effect at John F. Kennedy International Airport to help prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Beginning Saturday, all travelers arriving at JFK from West African nations will be escorted to a special screening area where they'll be asked a series of health questions about possible exposure. Passengers will also have their temperature taken with a non-contact thermometer.

EXTRAS: Fact Sheet On Ebola Screenings | More From The CDC | Ebola Q & A With Dr. Jonathan LaPook

As WCBS 880's Monica Miller reported, JFK is the entry point for almost half of the 150 flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where thousands of people have died from the virus.

Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Customs and Border Protection shed more light on the screenings during a news conference Saturday.

U.S. Customs Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said the tougher screening program is designed to ensure no infected person slips through the airport.

"The expanded screening measures provide this layer of protection to the already established protocols to minimize the risk of another case of Ebola here in the United States," Kerlikowske said.

New Ebola Screenings Start At JFK

Director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine for the CDC, Dr. Martin Cetron, said all passengers leaving the three Ebola-ravaged countries will be checked, "sometimes multiple times.''

"If any travelers are found to have either a fever, or a history of contact with an Ebola patient, then our onsite officer will respond in person and do a detailed interview of that individual," he said.

Bountouradu, from Guinea, said she had her temperature taken by officials, and filled out a questionnaire asking if she's been exposed to Ebola.

"They asked, we need a test for you," she said.

The stepped up screenings are going over well with travelers and their loved ones, including Chaday who was dropping off her mother at JFK Saturday.

"(Would you mind if someone came up to you and took your temperature?) No, no. That's not invasive to me. It's prevention," she said.

As CBS 2's reported, the longer lines at customs might be an inconvenience, but passengers are willing to deal with it.

"If it delays flights and you have to be at the airport another hour earlier, I think it's important for everyone's safety," Bayport, Long Island resident Elizabeth Edmonds said.

The CDC will soon have similar screening programs at Newark Liberty International Airport as well as other major airports around the country, including Washington Dulles International Airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

The CDC will have extra staff on hand and will eventually contract medical professionals to oversee the screenings.

Another Possible Ebola Scare In NYC As New Screenings Start At JFK

Meanwhile, a Colorado teenager visiting Brooklyn was placed in isolation at a hospital Friday night after showing flu-like symptoms, triggering concerns about Ebola after he said he recently traveled to Sudan.

As CBS 2's Janelle Burrell reported, emergency responders and medical teams at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center were following the outlined protocol to safely treat the patient.

Officials said the patient, a 14-year-old boy, is suffering from flu-like symptoms after returning from a two-week trip to Sudan, and reportedly lied to authorities so he could fly home, Burrell reported.

An official with the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, however, told 1010 WINS there are no patients currently suspected of having Ebola in New York City.

Another Possible Ebola Scare In NYC As New Screenings Start At JFK

The boy's uncle told 1010 WINS' Roger Stern the family never thought he had Ebola, but sent him to the hospital after he felt dizzy.

"These are regular procedures that the officials needed to take just to make sure everything's OK. I'm perfectly OK with it," he said.

The uncle said the hospital isolated the boy because he had been to Sudan, but that tests showed he did not have the virus.

New York City health officials also confirmed the teen tested negative for Ebola, WCBS 880's Miller reported.

In order to stop the spread of the virus, the NBC crew exposed to a cameraman who contracted Ebola has been placed under a mandatory quarantine by New Jersey officials.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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