There was even a tiny courtroom where special hearings were held to decide a newcomer’s fate.
When Ellis Island opened its doors in 1892, there were six physicians stationed to inspect the more than 200,000 immigrants who streamed through that year.
By 1902, there were eight physicians examining more than 500,000 arrivals; by 1905, 16 doctors examined 900,000 immigrants.
Those without fevers will be asked to check their temperatures on a daily basis for 21 days and report to a doctor immediately if they develop symptoms consistent with Ebola with a sheet of paper explaining their CDC encounter.
Those who are discovered to be ill will be quickly admitted to an appropriate infectious disease-intensive care-isolation unit.
But it was the last examination that was the most feared: the doctor’s inspections of the eyelids and eyes for evidence of trachoma.
A chronic infection of the eye, trachoma is now easily treated with a single dose of an antibiotic.
The more inquiring visitor may visit rooms off to the side where immigrants suspected of having an illness were subjected to intense medical scrutiny.
Those deemed ill were confined to the Contagious Disease hospital, right next door — which after decades of neglect has been recently re-opened to the public.
Between 18, the percentage of immigrants rejected for a medical condition, including psychiatric, chronic as well as infectious diseases, was miniscule, less than 1 percent.
A small number of these immigrants were treated at the Ellis Island; even more were sent back to their native land at the expense of the steamship company that brought them to the New World.