Passengers Describe O'Hare Ebola Screening | NBC Chicago

Passengers Describe O'Hare Ebola Screening

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    NEWSLETTERS

    10/16/2014: Passenger from Sierra Leone: "Humiliating but Necessary." Regina Waldroup reports. (Published Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014)

    Amid recent cases of Ebola in the United States, new travel precautions took effect at O’Hare Airport in Chicago Thursday.

    O’Hare, one of the nation’s busiest airports, was among five airports across the nation to begin screening travelers and taking the temperatures of passengers from three West African countries.

    “I got the whole treatment,” said traveler Ami Dumbuya.

    Dumbuya flew into Chicago Thursday afternoon on a connecting flight from Sierra Leone, which has been hit hard by the virus.

    “Immediately they found out that I was from Sierra Leone, they put a mask on me and walked me to the health center,” she said.

    Dumbuya said she was taken to a room where three people were dressed in protective gear.

    “They interviewed me, checked my temperature and made sure everything was OK,” she said. “Then they released me.”

    If officials had detected a fever, Dumbuya would have been referred for additional screening and possibly sent to a quarantine area or a nearby hospital.

    “I went through the same process in Sierra Leone,” she said. “We have been doing this for months.”

    Traveler Kara Higgins, who flew in from Rwanda, which is in East Africa, said she didn’t get screened, but was asked several questions.

    “They asked me where I came from and are you feeling well,” she said. “I said yes I was and that was it.”

    Customs officials say about 150 people travel daily from or through Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to the United States.

    Nearly 95 percent of them land first at one of five airports in New York, Washington, Chicago, Atlanta and Newark.