US orders airports to monitor all arriving travelers for Ebola

People in the main terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport.
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People in the main terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport.

Federal officials have ordered agents at U.S. airports and other points of entry to observe all arriving travelers for signs of Ebola.

An administration official told NBC News that travelers from West African nations most affected by Ebola will be subjected to additional screening in separate areas. Such measures include having their temperatures taken and filling out a questionnaire.

Customs and Border Protection agents are also giving out symptom fact sheets to travelers and providing directions to call a doctor if they become sick in the next 21 days, Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at an airport security conference Wednesday in Northern Virginia.

The policy was disclosed before hospital officials in Dallas announced the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first known person to develop Ebola in the United States.

Read MoreEbola patient in Dallas dies

More rigorous screening is also being implemented in ports for individuals entering the U.S. via ships originating from regions that are at high risk of Ebola, according to the Coast Guard.

Although Mayorkas did not expand on how they will be observing travelers or when the new measures start, he did confirm that agents are searching for "general signs of illness."

About 150 travelers will be checked per day under new Ebola screening procedures, according to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. The Obama administration faces the challenge of finding an effective method of identifying Ebola-carrying passengers—many of whom may not be immediately symptomatic when they arrive.

This will take place initially at the nation's five top airports: Atlanta, Newark, JFK, Dulles and O'Hare.

Read More Ebola epidemic could cost billions: World Bank

—AP contributed to this report.