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US Airports Step Up Ebola Screening

Travelers coming from West Africa face Ebola screening at five U.S. airports, starting with New York's JFK International, Oct. 11, 2014.

Western nations are boosting measures to guard against Ebola.

In the United States, a New York City airport Saturday became the first in the country to begin a stepped-up screening program to prevent the disease's spread.

The John F. Kennedy International Airport began taking the temperatures of passengers arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea as part of the new measures. Travelers will also face questions to determine whether they may have come into contact with an infected person.

The new procedures will expand to four additional airports this coming week: the Newark airport in New Jersey, Washington Dulles Airport, Chicago's O'Hare and the international airport in Atlanta. Together, the five airports receive more than 90 percent of all travelers entering the United States from the three worst-affected West African countries.

Britain is also introducing Ebola screening at certain airports and train stations.

Britain's chief medical officer, Sally Davies, said Saturday the country should expect a "handful" of Ebola cases in the next few months. Authorities held an eight-hour drill across the nation Saturday to test British readiness to deal with such an outbreak.

Meanwhile, in the Spanish capital of Madrid, three more people have been hospitalized with possible Ebola symptoms, boosting the total number of patients being monitored for the virus to 16.

The hospitalizations come after a Spanish nurse was diagnosed with Ebola after caring for two Spanish priests who died of the disease in Spain after contracting it in Africa. Officials said the nurse was in serious but stable condition Saturday.

Back in the U.S., New Jersey health officials issued an order of mandatory quarantine for members of an NBC news crew who worked with a U.S. cameraman infected with Ebola in Liberia. The order went into effect late Friday. New Jersey health department officials say the crew members remain symptom-free, so there is no reason for concern of exposure to the community.

The infected camera, Ashoka Mukpo, is being treated in Nebraska.

His is one of more than 8,000 Ebola cases the World Health Organization says have been recorded in seven countries.

The U.N. agency announced a higher worldwide death toll Friday of more than 4,000 people.

Outside of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, eight people died in Nigeria and one patient died in the United States.

The victim in the U.S., Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan, was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. His death has raised fears of the disease spreading outside of Africa.

Death toll rising

On Friday, the World Health Organization said the death toll from the Ebola outbreak has risen to more than 4,000 people.

The U.N. agency said nearly 8,400 cases of the disease have been recorded in seven countries, with 4,033 people dying from the epidemic.

It said all but nine of the deaths were in the three Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Eight people died in Nigeria and one patient died in the United States.

The data also includes one Ebola case each in Spain and Senegal, but no deaths in those countries.

A separate Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 43 people.

International aid falls short

Also Friday, the United Nations said it had received only a quarter of its appeal of $1 billion to respond to the outbreak.

The virus that causes Ebola spreads only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person who is showing symptoms.

VIDEO: A Day with Sierra Leone’s First Body Burial Team

A Day with Sierra Leone’s First Ebola Burial Team
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Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.