Travel Screenings Recommended as Ebola Rates Climb

Ebola outbreak leads to WHO recommendation for travel exit screenings as infections continue

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Concerns have increased around the globe as Ebola case counts climb in West Africa. Now, health experts are recommending travel screenings to slow the outbreak.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement suggesting that countries involved in the outbreak screen people leaving the country for signs of the disease.

WHO also announced the outbreak has now caused over 1,200 deaths.

"Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water."

According to WHO, as of Aug. 16, 2,240 patients have been infected with Ebola virus disease in the West African outbreak, 1,229 of whom have died. Over 100 of these cases were reported between Aug. 14 and 16 alone.

In the face of these rising case counts, WHO requested that affected countries — which currently include the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone — begin conducting exit screenings for travelers.

These screenings would involve checking for unexplained illness that might be the Ebola virus — which often includes symptoms like fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat — among travelers attempting to leave the country at international airports, seaports and major land border crossings.

"Any person with an illness consistent with [Ebola virus disease] should not be allowed to travel unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation," according to the WHO website.

The organization is not currently recommending any additional travel or trade restrictions but did suggest that countries not currently involved in the outbreak step up their ability to detect and contain new potential cases of Ebola.

Despite these new precautions, WHO stressed that the risk of transmitting Ebola during air travel is low, as the disease is spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids.

"Strengthened international cooperation is needed, and should support action to contain the virus, stop transmission to other countries and mitigate the effects in those affected," according to the WHO website.

Review Date: 
August 18, 2014
Last Updated:
October 8, 2014