In the wake of the death of Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are beginning what they call enhanced Ebola screeningsat five U.S. airports. The locations — New York's JFK International Airport, Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O'Hare and Atlanta — receive over 94 percent of travelers from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa.
Although Logan International Airport won’t be receiving the federal government’s new enhanced Ebola screenings, state and local officials on hand at Logan Wednesday insist the airport is already well-prepared.
"We're fortunate here at Logan, we've got a very rapid response," said Massport Fire Department Chief Robert Donahue. "Massport fire rescue can respond to this terminal in less than three minutes; Boston emergency medical services in under four minutes; and the team from the Boston Public Health Commission in under 10 minutes."
Donahue describes it as collaborative decision-making and says Ebola is not the first public health scare Logan has had to handle.
"We, unfortunately, have had some experience with infectious diseases here: from flu pandemic to meningitis, SARS, the enteroviruses, and now Ebola," he said.
Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the Boston Public Health Commission, says she’s not disappointed the federal plan isn’t coming to Logan. Instead, she says that she’s more concerned about people becoming sick after they leave the airport.
"We've been doing a lot of education in Boston, a lot of outreach to community groups that serve West African communities to say to them, if you think someone is sick, if they have been in an area where there is a lot of Ebola in the past 21 days, here's our phone number; call us," she said.