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Only 5 US airports will take travelers from Ebola-stricken countries

Airport staff test an electronic thermometer.
Airport staff test an electronic thermometer.
Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP via Getty Images

The US will require people traveling from Ebola-stricken countries to fly into the five airports with enhanced Ebola screening processes, the US Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday.

The restriction will apply to travelers from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea starting on Wednesday, October 22. The new rule won't ban people coming from those countries, but it will make them go through extra screening processes, including having their temperature taken, before they're admitted to the US. The five airports — New York's JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta, and Chicago — already account for 94 percent of travelers to the US from Ebola-stricken countries, according to DHS.

There are currently no direct flights from the Ebola-stricken countries to the US, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight. But travelers from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea can come in through connecting flights from Europe and other countries in West Africa.

West Africa flight map Ebola FiveThirtyEight

(FiveThirtyEight)

The evidence from previous travel bans shows they generally don't work. They could put the US at greater risk if they stifle aid to West Africa and worsen the outbreak, making Ebola more likely to spread.

To learn more about Ebola, read Vox's card stack and 21 maps and charts that explain Ebola.