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No Ebola found in year of screening at O’Hare, other airports

A member of the Coast Guard (upper left) takes the temperature of an arriving passenger at O'Hare Airport last October as a Customs and Border Protection officer examines documents during a screening for the Ebola virus.. Provided photo

After screening more than 30,000 travelers for Ebola as they arrived at O’Hare Airport and other U.S. airports from West African countries over the past year, federal health authorities say they never detected a single case of the often-fatal disease.

But at least one person incubating the disease — but not yet showing symptoms — slipped into the country without drawing notice.

Screening “doesn’t really pick up Ebola,” said Georgetown University law professor Lawrence Gostin, a director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights. “When Ebola struck in the United States, there was widespread — I would say irrational — fear and panic. This was a political compromise.”

Calls for airport screenings and quarantines arose after Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, became ill from Ebola after arriving in Dallas on Sept. 20, 2014, from Liberia. Doctors diagnosed Duncan on Sept. 30, and he died Oct. 8.

Beginning Oct. 11, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection launched the extra screening at five airports — O’Hare, New York’s John F. Kennedy, New Jersey’s Newark, Washington Dulles and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson — for travelers arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The airports handle 94 percent of all travelers arriving from those countries at the center of the outbreak.

The ebola screenings for people flying in from Liberia have now been dropped after the World Health Organization on Sept. 3 declared the epidemic over.

People from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea underwent screening before they even boarded a plane in those countries. If they showed symptoms, authorities did not allow them to board.

USA Today

With beta-blockers, less might work as well, study finds

Patients treated with a low dose of beta-blockers after a heart attack survived at the same rate or even better than those given more of the drug in trials, a Northwestern University study has found.

The surprising findings suggest that one-fourth the suggested dose from the original clinical trial is enough. In fact, the smaller dose resulted in 20 to 25 percent lower mortality than found among those given the full dose, according to the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Nine of 10 heart attack patients are given beta-blockers — both to improve survival and to guard against a future heart attack.

“We set out . . . to show if you treat patients with the doses that were used in the clinical trials, they will do better,” says Dr. Jeffrey Goldberger, a Northwestern Memorial Hospital cardiologist who is a cardiology professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We expected to see patients treated with the lower doses to have worse survival. We were shocked to discover they survived just as well and possibly even better.”

Staff report