AU professor believes US's Ebola airport screenings not good enough

AU professor believes US's Ebola airport screenings not good enough

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Auburn University Professor Dr. David Pascoe is considered to be a top expert in thermal imaging, and he believes the United States is not meeting international standards during airport screenings for pandemics like Ebola.

"They're using a small beam of light and they are putting it on different parts of the body. The skin is very unique in that it interfaces between our body and out core and so different parts of our skin may have different temperatures," Pascoe said.

Pascoe is the U.S. delegate on the International Standards Committee for Thermal Imagers for Human Temperature Screening.

The committee adopted a measure over ten years ago calling for the use of infrared cameras to provide a thermal image of the skin face temperature.

The reading indicates the temperature of the inner canthus, the area between the eyes and above the nose, which is an indicator of the core temperature.

"A temperature that is about the threshold, in this case 38.5 degrees Celsius in the area of the inner canthus, it could be setup where the picture or the color would be white so if you see the white that person would need further screening," Pascoe said.

Pascoe believes this method isn't being used by the U.S. because a sense of urgency is lost overtime, its believed cost, and the time it would take to put in place.

He recommends that the U.S. conduct screenings as airline passengers go through Customs.

"The equipment is not overly expensive and the technique has been well-identified," Pascoe said.

The international standards were developed after an attempt to use infrared cameras to screen for SARS in Singapore in 2003.

Pascoe says there was a problem in accuracy because the images were taken of groups of people, not their individual faces.

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