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Sky Harbor prepared for Ebola case

PHOENIX — Phoenix firefighters are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best when it comes to the deadly Ebola virus.

With no direct flights to West Africa, Sky Harbor airports did not make the list of U.S. airports that will begin screening passengers to check for Ebola symptoms.

That, however, is not stopping the Phoenix Fire Department from preparing for the possibility that a passenger could arrive at the airport with the virus.

If that were to happen, Phoenix firefighters would be the first group to come in contact with the patient.

“If a patient arrived in Phoenix with symptoms of Ebola, the Phoenix Fire Department would provide the initial response and then would be in contact with public health officials,” Phoenix Fire Captain Shelly Jamison said.

The department plans to work closely with state and federal agencies in the event they needed to separate the patient from other passengers.

“The airport has a long standing procedure in place for isolating aircrafts,” she said.

Jamison said despite their preparations, she is not worried about the virus coming through Sky Harbor because of the way it spreads.

“The likelihood of contracting Ebola is extremely low unless a person has direct unprotected contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola,” she explained.