The US started conducing enhanced screening of West African passengers at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport Saturday to halt the spread of Ebola.



The screening will be carried out by teams armed with thermal guns who will also ask travelers to fill out relevant questionnaires, Press TV reported.


The airport is the first of five US airports that is screening passengers coming from the West African countries, including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited the airport screening as one part of an overall strategy to contain the spread of Ebola.


"Because we want to protect the American public, we are taking a tiered approach," said CDC spokesman Jason McDonald.


The Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shall perform the screenings under CDC direction, McDonald said.


In addition to JFK airport, most of US-bound passengers from the three African countries also arrive at Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago, O'Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airports which all will start undergoing the new procedures next week.


Detractors have put into question the current US strategy which checks passengers for fevers. The critics said the stratagem is not effective in preventing travelers infected with the Ebola virus from entering the country.


This is the first time US health authorities are using fever monitoring to screen travelers, said Lawrence Gostin, who teaches global health law at Georgetown Law School.


Besides, such monitoring was not successful when used in Canada and Asia during the SARS outbreak in 2002.


The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday 4,033 people have died in the current Ebola outbreak.


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