Sunday, July 27, 2014

International Airports Screens Passengers Arriving From Foreign Countries For Symptoms Of Ebola Virus

Following the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Lagos,Nigeria, airport security will be getting tight as international airports in the country are screening passengers arriving from foreign countries for symptoms,
Yakubu Dati, spokesman for Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, said, airports have also set up holding rooms in case another potential Ebola victim lands in Nigeria. The ease at which a traveler, who could be infected, can move on international flights from Liberia has concerned health organizations. It has raised fears that other passengers could unwittingly contribute to the spread of the disease.

Patrick Sawyer, a consultant for the Liberian Ministry of Finance, arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday and was immediately detained by health authorities suspecting he might have ebola, Plyler said. Authorities announced Friday that blood tests from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital confirmed Sawyer died of ebola earlier that day.

Dr Lance Plyler, who leads the ebola medical efforts in Liberia that Dr Brantly was part of, said screening airline passengers may help slow the spread of the disease, but it couldn't prevent it. 'Unfortunately the initial signs of ebola imitate other diseases, like malaria or typhoid,' he said.

 Airports in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three other West African countries affected by the current outbreak, have implemented some preventive measures, according to officials in those countries. But none of the safeguards are foolproof, health experts warned.

Ebola has a variable incubation period of between two and 21 days and cannot be diagnosed on the spot.
Sawyer reportedly did not show ebola symptoms when he boarded the plane, Plyler said, but by the time he arrived in Nigeria he was vomiting and had diarrhea. There has not been another recently recorded case of Ebola spreading through air travel, he added. Nearly 50 other passengers on the flight are being monitored for signs of Ebola but are not being kept in isolation, said an employee at Nigeria's Ministry of Health, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Sawyer's sister also died of ebola in Liberia, according to officials, but he claimed to have had no contact with her.
Ebola is passed by touching bodily fluids of patients even after they die, he said. Traditional burials that include rubbing the bodies of the dead contribute to the spread of the disease, Dr Krishnan added. There is no 'magic bullet' cure for ebola, but early detection and treatment of fluids and nutrition can be effective. Quickly isolating patients is also crucial in slowing the spread of the disease.

God help us with this ebola virus.

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