WH ‘reassessing’ Ebola screening measures

The White House said Monday that officials are “assessing and reassessing” Ebola screening procedures as pressure grows on the administration to intensify safety measures after the first case of the deadly virus entering the U.S.

"The United States continues to be assessing and reassessing the procedures that are in place to safeguard the traveling public around the globe, but also the American public here at home," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The spokesman said the administration felt "good about the measures that are already in place" but that officials would consider steps that could make the screening process more "efficient."

The White House did say that a complete travel ban "is not something that we’re currently considering."

Earnest claimed the "multilayered screening protocol in place" had proven effective. He pointed to an aircraft that landed at Newark Liberty International Airport over the weekend after concerns a passenger may have contracted the disease as evidence the process was working.

Still, Earnest said that the chances of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. remained exceedingly low.

"Our experts continue to be confident that the medical infrastructure that we have in place in this country is sufficient to prevent an Ebola outbreak," he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that "all options are being looked at" for intensifying screening procedures.

He suggested the U.S. may start screening travelers from countries affected by Ebola on entering the U.S. but that was being weighed against whether "the extra level of screening is going to be worth the resources you need to put into it."

The White House would not say if stateside screening would be discussed during a meeting between the president and top health and administration officials Monday afternoon.

Attention on the screening procedures has intensified since a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, began showing symptoms after arriving in the U.S. Duncan was not displaying signs of having contracted the virus during his travel, although Liberian officials have said the man lied about his contact with the disease on travel documents. He is now undergoing treatment at a Dallas-area hospital.

Five Americans who contracted the disease working in West Africa have also returned to the U.S. to receive treatment. The World Health Organization estimates more than 3,400 have died from the virus.