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Tags: ebola | air travel | West Africa | screening

Study: 3 Ebola-Infected Travelers Likely to Fly Each Month

By    |   Tuesday, 21 October 2014 07:26 AM EDT

The most efficient and inexpensive way to screen air travelers for Ebola is to do so at airports in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where infected individuals are likely to embark, rather than at more numerous points of entry, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal, Family Practice News reported.

An estimated three infected travelers would leave those Ebola-stricken West African countries each month unless they were identified and stopped in a screening process, lead author Isaac Bogoch of the University of Toronto also wrote in the study, based on modeling using data from the International Air Transport Association and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The study found that Ghana, Senegal, France and Britain were the most likely destinations for these passengers.

About 500,000 travelers flew out of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2013, with most heading for other African countries that may not be properly equipped to halt the virus, CNN reported.

About 2 percent head to the United States, according to the study, Family Practice reported.

Screening will not identify travelers who have not yet developed symptoms. The average incubation period of the disease is 8-10 days but can be as long as 21 days, Family Practice reported.

"If you look at how challenged the U.S. has been in dealing with this one imported case, I think it's really important for WHO and other countries to up the preparedness in areas where they might have less resources," said Jesse Goodman, an infectious diseases specialist at Georgetown University, according to CNN.

Most of the world's efforts and resources should be devoted to preventing Ebola's spread in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Bogoch said.

"If there are fewer cases in West Africa, fewer [infected] people will be boarding planes to other parts of the world."

He added, "That said, we still have to be prepared elsewhere. Because we know from experience that it can land on our doorstep," CNN reported.

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Three Ebola-infected air travelers are likely to leave Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone each month unless stopped by screening, and the best way to screen them is at airports in those countries rather than at points of entry, a study in a medical journal states.
ebola, air travel, West Africa, screening
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 07:26 AM
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