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Schumer Calls For Better U.S. Screenings Of Travelers Coming From Ebola-Stricken Countries

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Now that Ebola has reached American soil, Sen. Charles Schumer wants to tighten up preventitive measures for travelers entering the country.

At a news conference Sunday in Manhattan, the New York Democrat said he wants agents with the Transportation Security Administration at U.S. airports to screen travelers coming from Ebola-affected countries. The screenings would include taking passengers' temperatures and having them complete health surveys. He wants similar precautions taken at ports.

"These are reminders that the threat is out there," Schumer told reporters, including CBS 2's Matt Kozar. "More intense screening and testing temperature in the U.S. adds an extra very reliable layer of protection."

Schumer also wants to establish a temporary database that would be made available to local hospitals of people who have recently traveled to West Africa.

Schumer Calls For Better U.S. Screenings Of Travelers Coming From Ebola-Stricken Countries

The senator said that while there's no reason for panic, the government should consider ways to prevent the deadly virus from spreading.

"You can't wall yourself off, and we have to be really extra careful," Schumer told reporters, including WCBS 880's Monica Miller and 1010 WINS' Kevin Rincon.

WEB EXTRA: More Information About Ebola From CDC

Last week, doctors in Texas diagnosed the first case of Ebola in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan traveled from disease-ravaged Liberia to Dallas last month before he began showing symptoms of the disease that has killed some 3,400 people in West Africa.

Hospital officials said Saturday that Duncan's condition has worsened to critical.

Health officials said on Saturday that they are still monitoring about 50 people who may have had contact with Duncan for signs of the deadly disease. Among those are nine people who are believed to be at a higher risk. Thus far, none have shown symptoms.

Schumer Calls For Better U.S. Screenings Of Travelers Coming From Ebola-Stricken Countries

On Saturday in Newark, more than 200 passengers and crew aboard a United Airlines flight arriving from Belgium were asked to stay on the plane after landing while a man was vomiting during the flight was examined, officials said.

"We had to wait two hours in the plane before they could evacuate the passenger," one passenger told Kozar.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention arrived, and the sick passenger, who was traveling from Liberia, was taken to University Hospital in Newark, where doctors determined he did not have Ebola and is not contagious.

In an interview with WCBS 880 Sunday, U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said he believes the screenings of travelers should be intensified in West Africa.

As for managing the virus in the U.S., Rangel said, "I'm convinced now that even though there's no silver-bullet solution, that good health care and responding to the symptoms will have us once again to be able to control what is a dangerous disease."

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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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