May 19, 2024

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Attention at US Entry: CDC Expands Virus Testing Pilot at Four Major Airports!

Attention at US Entry: CDC Expands Virus Testing Pilot at Four Major Airports!



Attention at US Entry: CDC Expands Virus Testing Pilot at Four Major Airports!

Due to a significant increase in cases of seasonal flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other respiratory infectious diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to expand voluntary testing for travelers.

The pilot program will be conducted at four airports: New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and San Francisco.

The updated list of pathogens for testing will now include over 30 different types.

Attention at US Entry: CDC Expands Virus Testing Pilot at Four Major Airports!

According to reports from CNN and “The Hill,” the CDC announced the participation of New York’s Kennedy Airport, Boston’s Logan Airport, Washington D.C.’s Dulles Airport, and San Francisco International Airport in the pilot program. The testing list encompasses more than 30 bacteria and viruses, such as influenza types A and B, RSV, and whether these pathogens have developed resistance to antibiotics.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, the CDC launched the Traveler Genomic Surveillance (TGS) program, currently implemented at seven major airports with international routes across the United States. The aim is to collect nasal swabs and wastewater samples from incoming travelers to monitor the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus and the possible introduction of other pathogens.

Following the announcement of the expansion plan, Cindy Friedman, the director of the Office of International Health at CDC, stated that air travelers are a key focus for government tracking of infections. With the widened scope of testing, voluntary cooperation from global travelers is necessary to provide samples for authorities to analyze.

Statistics indicate that approximately 6,000 travelers voluntarily participate in the program each week. As of last month, over 370,000 travelers have undergone nasal swab sampling, covering flights from 135 countries or regions. More than 14,000 samples have undergone genomic sequencing for further analysis. Friedman added that since the program’s implementation, authorities have detected numerous variants of the coronavirus, including “Omicron BA.2,” “BA.3,” “XBB,” and “BA.2.86,” often identifying them six weeks before official announcements. The current focus is on preventing seasonal flu and respiratory viruses, recognizing the limited monitoring capabilities in various regions globally.

Collaborating biotechnology company Ginkgo Bioworks, working with the CDC, highlighted that the TGS program was established to monitor conditions at entry points and prevent the recurrence of public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDC data reveals a slight increase in flu transmission as the U.S. enters the fall and winter seasons, though overall levels remain relatively low. As of the week ending October 28, there were a total of 189 flu cases recorded nationwide, with 77% being influenza type A and the remaining 23% influenza type B. New York’s Kennedy Airport, included in the expansion plan, ranks sixth in service scale among all North American airports, with over 55.2 million passengers in 2022.

Attention at U.S. Entry: CDC Expands Virus Testing Pilot at Four Major Airports!

(source:internet, reference only)


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