The CDC is expanding its infectious disease surveillance program at four major U.S. airports to include more than 30 pathogens. The picture shows passengers queuing at the check-in counter at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on December 27, 2021. (Zhou Hanyin/The Epoch Times)
[The Epoch Times, November 07, 2023](Comprehensive report by Epoch Times reporter Li Xin) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expanding its infectious disease surveillance program at the four major U.S. airports to more than 30 pathogens, including influenza , respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other respiratory viruses.
The agency’s “Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance” (TGS) program began in 2021 during the epidemic and aims to help early detection of new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) variants. As part of the program, the CDC is conducting voluntary nasal swabs and wastewater sampling of international travelers arriving at U.S. airports to detect COVID-19 and other pathogens.
The program is currently in place at seven major U.S. international airports and is primarily used to detect COVID-19. As a pilot project, the program is currently operating at four of the airports: Boston Logan International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has expanded testing to detect more than 30 bacteria, antibiotic resistance targets, and types of viruses including influenza A and B viruses and respiratory syncytial virus.
“Our focus has always been on international hub airports, which serve flights from all over the world,” said program leader Cindy Friedman, director of the CDC’s Travelers’ Health Branch. So we can understand what’s happening globally and detect strains of concern early on.”
Of the 6,000 nasal swab samples collected weekly by the program, about 2,000 are used to test for respiratory illnesses, Friedman said, adding that since October two of the seven participating airports have been tested. Nasal swab samples from airports were tested.
He also said that passenger wastewater sampling has been carried out at some airports starting in November, but did not specify which airports.
As of September 2023, more than 360,000 air travelers have been enrolled in the TGS program, the CDC said in a press release on Monday. Participation in the program is voluntary and anonymous. The program covers flights to more than 135 countries in all World Health Organization (WHO) regions.
Editor in charge: Ye Ziwei#