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DHS' Ebola Response Needs Better Coordination, Training, and Execution

Executive Summary

In 2014, West African countries experienced the largest Ebola virus disease (Ebola) outbreak to date. As part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) response to prevent the spread of Ebola in the United States, DHS instituted additional screening at U.S. ports of entry for passengers traveling from Ebola-affected countries. We conducted this audit to determine whether DHS has effectively implemented its enhanced screening measures to respond to an Ebola outbreak. Although the Department responded quickly to implement domestic Ebola screening with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it did not ensure sufficient coordination, adequate training, and consistent screening of people arriving at U.S. ports of entry. Coordination between DHS, HHS, and other DHS components was not sufficient to ensure all passengers received full screening. Components did not ensure all personnel received adequate training on the screening process or the use of certain protective equipment. Component personnel also did not always follow established Ebola procedures and ensure all identified passengers completed required screening. As a result, some passengers with potential risk of Ebola exposure may have entered the United States without having their temperatures taken or otherwise cleared by health professionals, and the DHS workforce performing the response was not always appropriately protected.

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