Ebola virus may spread faster and wider with air travel

Published on : Friday, August 1, 2014

Ebola-virus-300x223There are great concerns that the deadly virus Ebola may have risks of spreading across the world through air travel.

Ebola has taken a lethal turn since its outbreak in Guinea in March. The virus rapidly reached Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Alarms were raised when it was known that a man carrying the virus had taken an internal flight.


The risk of the spread of this communicable disease became a possibility.

In planes, feel experts the ventilation goes from ground to the ceiling. The air is filtered for bacteria and virus before it is recalculated. The germs are generally carried as far as two rows away but that too is least likely feel scientists. The possibility of catching the illness is quite slim about 3.5% in this condition.


John Edmunds, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says it is hard to access the risk of in-flight transmission of rare and unstudied diseases like Ebola.
However unlike other viruses Ebola may a be a bit difficult to catch as it is transmitted by contact with bodily fluids like saliva, vomit, or blood, which begins to secrete out of every orifice. Patrick Sawyer, US citizen was detected with these symptoms as he died from the virus last week. He showed symptoms of this disease in his flight from Liberia to Nigeria. The Airline staff should be more aware of the dangers and should place anyone suspected of having the disease in quarantine.

A basic hygiene measure and health check before boarding even internal flights can eliminate the dangers of the spread of Ebola. A person at the initial stage of the disease may not know that he has Ebola and may board his flight with light fever. With a bit of vigilance from the airport authorities such risks can be prevented.


Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days. Carriers could arrive in a country weeks before symptoms develop and spread the disease in their known circles.


The World Health Organisation is not recommending screening passengers in the airports; thermal scanners are used to detect fever. Travel restrictions may not take place immediately. But this is perhaps the best way to minimise any potential risk. Scientists feel that it is unlikely that Ebola will spread into the modern world to cause an epidemic.




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