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SFO Assures Passengers Airport Ready If Ebola Screenings Become Necessary

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KCBS) -- San Francisco International Airport officials asserted Thursday they stand ready to implement enhanced screening measures to deal with the Ebola outbreak if the government directs them to.

Thursday's statement follows a request yesterday from the State Department of Public Health that California airports be added to the list of airports with stepped up screening.


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California airports are not currently screening passengers for Ebola, but that could change after the request issued to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said that after managing responses ranging from SARS to the swine flu, the airport has experience with enhanced passenger screening. Yakel said airport officials are working with federal public health officials on the processes for increased screening.

"We've been in constant contact with them to disseminate information, to review our protocols, and to discuss what measures, if any, need to be added to the process," said Yakel

Yakel said East Coast airports are more involved in screening passengers for Ebola than SFO. "That's by nature of the fact that we really don't have any non-stop service to the African continent," said Yakel. "So you'd really have to go throught one of those other cities in order to even get to SFO in the first place."

Currently, the CDC and Customs and Border Protection are doing enhanced entry screening of travelers who have traveled from or through Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone at five U.S. airports: New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Washington Dulles (IAD), and Atlanta (ATL).

Screenings include answering passengers questions to determine risk, taking their temperature, and referring the passenger to public health authorities if he or she has a fever or other symptoms.

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