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Wellness Wednesday: CDC tracks Covid, RSV and others in airport screenings

This program hopes to increase early detection of new variants and diseases from around the globe
Posted at 10:50 AM, Nov 08, 2023

Hopping on a flight anytime soon?

Scripps News reporter Maura Sirianni tells us that the Center for Disease Control is looking to crack down on spreading diseases at airports this season.

In an attempt to increase the prevention of the spread of communicable illness, the CDC is expanding how it tracks COVID-19 and other viruses in its traveler-based genomic surveillance program.

The program allows the agency to test for more than 30 varieties of bacteria, as well as COVID-19, RSV, and the flu from travelers entering the US hoping to capture data indicating strains, variants, and countries where they may be coming from.

The nasal test is voluntary for travelers in participating airports, including JFK in NY, Newark, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston-Logan, and Dulles in Washington DC.

The participating airports were designated by health officials as locations that could provide a good sampling of travelers across the globe, as they are all international hubs.

In addition to the nasal swabs, the agency also plans to analyze waste-water coming from select incoming flights.

Testing air samples in airports is also in the CDC's long-term plan to help with early detection of new variants circulating and entering the US.

The program claims to currently test approximately 6,000 travelers each week.