Homeland Security Department ends enhanced Ebola screening

Thursday is the last day of enhanced screening for Ebola of travelers returning from West Africa. 

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The Department of Homeland Security made the announcement on Thursday, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declaring West Africa Ebola-free. 

The enhanced screening had been in place since the fall of 2014, when fears over the virus rose. The process had involved funneling travelers returning from affected countries to five airports in the United States. 

The DHS said that over the past 16 months it has screened 42,000 passengers returning from affected countries. 

“I am proud of the men and women of DHS who executed this coordinated, fast-moving, and effective response to an unprecedented public health emergency,” Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. “Their hard work ensured that we were successful in protecting the United States from Ebola while keeping our employees safe.”

There is now some concern over the Zika virus, but DHS said earlier this month that it is not planning to conduct screening of travelers for Zika because four out of five people with the virus do not show symptoms. 

“Based on our current understanding of the virus, enhanced public health entry screening for Zika would not be effective because most people who are infected with Zika are asymptomatic and therefore could not be identified during the screening process,” the DHS said in a statement.