TSA agents in New York and New Jersey are now asking travelers with diarrhea and other digestive issues to submit a saliva sample for testing at airports.
The program, called the Trusted Traveler Program, began Monday and will test travelers for hepatitis B, which is spread through droplets of stool.
The program is voluntary, but travelers must submit a sample at a TSA checkpoint.
At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, agents are asking travelers to submit their saliva samples to the agency within 48 hours of arriving at the airport, officials said in a statement.
If a traveler has any of the following symptoms, they are advised to contact a doctor or doctor’s assistant immediately: diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, muscle spasms, headache, or a change in appetite, they said.
While the screening program is meant to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, some travelers have expressed concerns about the possibility of being exposed to Hepatitis C and other serious medical conditions if they are screened.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said the Trused Traveler program is not meant to create a mass vaccination campaign, but rather to provide travelers with an opportunity to provide their saliva sample and to get tested if they have any of these conditions.
TSA said the program is designed to help prevent the spread and spread of Hepatitosis C and to increase the number of people in the U.S. who are tested for Hepatits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its statement.