Tags: ebola | screenings | airports | ineffective

No Way to Screen for Ebola at Airports

By    |   Wednesday, 01 October 2014 09:39 AM

The Ebola screening measures started this summer by the Nigerian government at the country’s international airports, and another in South Africa, are ineffective and will not do much to detect the deadly virus, according to DefenseOne.com.

Nigerian airport authorities are checking passengers arriving from Sierra Leone for fever, since that could be an indicator. If an elevated temperature is detected, the passenger is given a blood test.

South Africa has announced it’s in the process of installing thermal scanners in its airports to “detect feverish passengers.” The move is similar to what took place during the 2009 bird flu epidemic, when airports around the world used thermal scanners in an attempt to locate feverish passengers.

According to Defense One’s Patrick Tucker, both Nigeria and South Africa’s ideas are well intentioned but not likely to do much to stop the spread of Ebola, which clams the lives of 70 percent of its victims.

“Fever can be a sign of a lot of different illnesses, not just Ebola,” according to Tucker. “And thermal scanning proved to be a poor method of catching bird flu carriers in 2009 as well. So presenting with an elevated temperature at an airport checkpoint does not indicate clearly enough that the fevered person is carrying the deadly virus. More importantly, the incubation period for Ebola is two days. As many as 20 days can pass before symptoms show up. That means that an individual could be carrying the virus for two weeks or longer and not even know it, much less have it show up via thermal scan. So what good are these scanners?”

Further, administering hundreds or thousands of passengers to a blood test would slow “international travel to a halt.” The test can take eight hours, or longer, and is “prohibitively expensive.”

Until a quicker test is manufactured (one is in the works) it makes the most sense to treat it like any other aviation security threat: pre-screen passengers based on likelihood of risk, Sheldon H. Jacobson, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois, told DefenseOne.

“Prescreening would be prudent, and reasonable, based on the information available,” he said. “Public health personnel would need to develop appropriate criteria that yield good results and also limit false positives. In essence, pre-screening, if done appropriately, can work in any type of screening mechanism.”

Last month, a man traveling from Liberia to Dallas came down with the deadly virus. Federal and state health officials have released limited information about the man, but NBC News reported that he traveled from Liberia on Sept. 19 to visit relatives in the United States.


The man became ill on Sept. 24 and sought care at a Dallas hospital. The staff there did not suspect Ebola and released the man. He returned by ambulance on Sept. 28 and is currently in isolation in the intensive care unit. His condition has been reported as “critically ill.”
The emergency workers who transported the man have been quarantined.

The CDC has issued warnings for nonessential travel to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, CNN reports.


© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Headline
The Ebola screening measures started this summer by the Nigerian government at the country's international airports, and another in South Africa, are ineffective and will not do much to detect the deadly virus, according to DefenseOne.com. Nigerian airport authorities are...
ebola, screenings, airports, ineffective
511
2014-39-01
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 09:39 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved