In a move that many would consider long overdue, the CDC has indicated its willingness to deploy registered nurses and physicians at “all major airports in the United States” to screen travelers for signs of Ebola.
In a “sources sought” notice posted at FedBizOpps today entitled Ebola Support Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking for a company to provide, “Clinical personnel and Epidemiologists that can do contract tracing and traveler rapid assessment of health status” both overseas and at domestic airports within the United States.
The minimum requirement for the position is Registered Nurse, Physician (MD or DO), and the scope of the agreement, “would need to cover all major airports in the United States,” according to the notice.
As of now, only five airports within the United States are set to begin temperature screenings of travelers returning from West Africa, beginning with Kennedy International in New York this weekend.
Four other airports – Washington Dulles International, O’Hare International, Hartsfield-Jackson International and Newark Liberty International – will begin screening next week.
The CDC notice also reveals how the federal agency is planning to appoint an Emergency Management Specialist who will be, “Responsible for emergency response coordination, management and preparedness activities within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24 hours a day/7 days a week.”
The deadline for companies to respond to the notice is October 28.
Experts have questioned whether airport temperature screenings will be worthwhile given that the instruments used to conduct such tests can be fooled if a traveler takes a large quantity of Ibuprofen.
Since the first case of Ebola in the United States was confirmed, federal authorities have faced increasing criticism for refusing to block flights coming in from West Africa.