Published on : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
To support the global efforts to hold the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), and provide a coordinated international response for the travel and tourism sector, the World Health Organization (WHO) has collaborated with other agencies to activate a Travel and Transport Task Force. Ebola Virus Disease has hit four West African nations.
According to WHO statement obtained by PANA, the Task Force would monitor the situation and provide timely information to the travel and tourism sector as well as to travelers.
Since the outbreak of the disease in Guinea in December 2013, the virus has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing a total of 1,145 people.
WHO said the risk of transmission of EVD during air travel is low. Ebola is not spread by breathing from an infected person. Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals, all unlikely exposures for the average traveller. Travellers are, in any event, advised to avoid all such contacts and routinely practice careful hygiene, like hand washing.
”The risk of getting infected on an aircraft is also small as sick persons usually feel so unwell that they cannot travel and infection requires direct contact with the body fluids of the infected person,” according to WHO.
The global health body advised that affected countries are requested to conduct exit screening of all persons at international airports, seaports and major land crossings, for unexplained febrile illness consistent with potential Ebola infection. Any person with an illness consistent with EVD should not be allowed to travel unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation. There should be no international travel of Ebola contacts or cases, unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation.
WHO said, non-affected countries need to strengthen the capacity to detect and immediately contain new cases, while avoiding measures that will create unnecessary interference with international travel or trade.
The WHO declared the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), On 8 Aug. 2014. However, the WHO has not recommended any ban on international travel or trade, in accordance with advice from the WHO Ebola Emergency Committee.