International Travel from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
CDC’s Border Teams in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone worked with airport management, airlines, ministries of health, and seaport cargo management to write standard operation procedures for screening travelers before boarding international flights (exit screening) and for screening airport and seaport workers.
Typically, travelers were checked for fever three times: 1) at the gate of the airport, 2) after entering the airport, and 3) hours later before they boarded their flights. Local doctors, medical students, community health workers, and nurses were hired to operate the screenings, which included a health questionnaire about symptoms and proximity to Ebola patients. They recorded all travelers’ temperatures at each stage.
CDC, WHO, and other partners believe that screening outbound passengers in West Africa was one of the most highly effective measures for preventing the spread of Ebola. The screening process was also vital to ensuring that the few airlines that had not discontinued flights to West Africa kept flying so that aid workers and supplies could be brought in.