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3 Ebola Travelers Fly Monthly, Spreading Disease: Study

Image: 3 Ebola Travelers Fly Monthly, Spreading Disease: Study
Passengers arriving from Conakry in Guinea wait for their luggages at the airport in Abidjan on October 20, 2014 as Ivory Coast's airline resumed flights to the three west African countries worst-hit by Ebola -- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 03:29 PM

As many as 3 travelers infected with Ebola board international flights from Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone each month, according to a report funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The study, which was published in The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday, examined flight schedules between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 of this year, historic traveler itinerary data, and Ebola virus surveillance data.

"We understand there could be global risks associated with the current outbreak. We wanted to understand what those risks were," study author Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a specialist in infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the University of Toronto, told CNN.

The report suggested that screening travelers as they exit those countries would be the most efficient way to address the concerns, though that would likely require international assistance.

The three West African countries reportedly do screen departing passengers for fevers, but it can take up to 21 days for Ebola symptoms to show, Reuters reported.

Ebola is known to have killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, Reuters reported, and the World Health Organization estimates the true toll to be closer to 12,000 after unreported cases are factored in.

Dr. Kamran Khan of St Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada, who led the research study, told Reuters that excessive constraints on air travel could have "severe economic consequences that could destabilize the region and possibly disrupt critical supplies of essential health and humanitarian services."

"Risks to the global community would further increase if Ebola virus were to spread to and within other countries with weak public health systems," Khan said, according to Medical News Today.

According to the research, 64 percent of all air travelers departing Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone had expected destinations in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

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As many as 3 travelers infected with Ebola board international flights from Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone each month, according to a report funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
3, ebola, travelers, fly, monthly
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2014-29-21
Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 03:29 PM
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