DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Two Texas Congressman have asked that the two largest airports in Texas are added to the list of five that will increase Ebola screening for international passengers.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul wrote a letter requesting DFW International and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airports require the same enhanced screening that begins this weekend at New York’s JFK International and the international airports in Newark, Washington Dulles, Chicago and Atlanta.
“As you may know, Texas is home to both Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) where a combined 15.6 million international passengers visited in 2013,” Sen. Cornyn and Rep. McCaul wrote. “Because those traveling from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia can transit to the United States from many other countries, we have concerns that the current decision to screen only at five airports may not adequately protect Americans and others traveling to America from the Ebola virus.”
The enhanced screening will include a temperature screening with a device that avoids direct contact with travelers. The new measures also include more screening questions for passengers from the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which have been hit worst by the outbreak. The procedures will allow U.S. health officials to isolate, evaluate, and monitor travelers as well as collect any information about their contacts.
The letter comes ahead of a Friday afternoon House Homeland Security committee hearing that will be hosted by Rep. McCaul at DFW Airport. Government officials will discuss the federal, local, and state response to the first Ebola diagnosis on American soil, nearly two weeks ago at a Dallas hospital. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dr. David Lakey, the Texas health commissioner, will testify.
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