CDC Looks to Expand Ebola Screening at Major US Airports
The virus is also the target of the White House's latest Grand Challenge.
Update: CDC canceled its request for information two hours after this story posted. CDC was contacted before this story posted and declined to comment.
The government is considering hiring more doctors and nurses to expand its Ebola screening programs at major U.S. and West African airports, according to documents posted Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC last week added “new layers of entry screening” at the five U.S. airports that receive 94 percent of travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- the countries hit hardest by the deadly virus.
By Monday, more than 90 passengers had been flagged at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, the first to start the program Saturday. This week, the screening program was set to start at Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O'Hare, and Atlanta international airports.
The sources-sought notice posted Tuesday said additional screeners and contact tracers might deploy overseas or work at domestic airports.
"This would need to cover all major airports in the United States and perhaps some airports overseas,” the notice said.
It also called for managers and logistics specialists, as well as transportation specialists with communications skills and good customer service.
The transportation job would involve “complicated commercial travel actions” to deploy supplies and emergency personnel, the document said.
“Must be able to communicate effectively with a variety of people, especially in times of emergency,” the notice continued. “Transportation specialists at the operations level may be required to administer customer service, especially if the position involves transporting or working with the public.”
Companies capable of doing these jobs in the United States and in West Africa are asked to submit within two weeks their qualifications -- including expertise and formal training -- and to list completed projects of a similar nature.
USAID Seeks Big Ideas for Better Health Care Tools
The U.S. Agency for International Development, which has been leading efforts to contain Ebola in West Africa, last week launched a call for innovative ideas to counter the deadly disease.
The move was part of the White House’s latest Grand Challenge -- “ambitious but achievable goals that harness science, technology and innovation to tackle important national or global problems and that have the potential to capture the public’s imagination.”
The Ebola challenge aims to put better tools in the hands health care workers who are fighting Ebola.
Phase one of the initiative involves “an open innovation” website with a suite of tools.
“Through it, the global community can brainstorm, collaborate, and comment on new ideas that generate practical solutions to the Ebola epidemic,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said. “The strongest ideas may be encouraged to apply for funding later in the Grand Challenge. Our aim is to begin funding ideas in a matter of weeks.”
That solicitation, which was also posted with grants, did not have a price cap, saying resources “will depend on the concepts received and the availability of funds. Some award types may not include any funding.”
NEXT STORY: Online Resources Track and Map Ebola Outbreak