October 2014 – AFRICA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that all travelers will be monitored for 21 days after arriving in the U.S. from the three West Africans countries where Ebola is spreading. Starting Monday, each traveler from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will be given a “care kit” that includes a thermometer and instructions for how to use it as well as a description of possible Ebola symptoms and what to do if any of them develop. Such travelers, who most likely will include health-care workers assisting in the Ebola fight and journalists, will be required to take their temperatures twice daily for 21 days and report the result to the state health department where they reside.
“These new measure will give an additional level of safety,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director in a national media briefing. “We have to keep our guard up.” About 150 people are believed to travel to the U.S. daily from the three West African countries. The travelers already are having their temperatures taken when they leave Africa and when they arrive at certain U.S. airports. –Dallas News
By the numbers: The latest statistics coming from the WHO about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is decidedly grim. Number of cases worldwide in the current outbreak: 9,936 (Climbed 720 in five days) Number of deaths: 4,877 (Climbed 322 in five days).
Study shows people will flee Ebola countries: A new study underscores the potential danger of airplane passengers infected with Ebola leaving West Africa: If there were no exit screening in place, researchers estimate that three people with the disease might fly out of the region each month. The hardest-hit West African nations have been checking passengers since summer, but the new work is a reminder of how much easier it could be for the virus to travel outside the outbreak region if those measures weren’t in place — and that screening can’t catch every case. Since the Ebola outbreak was first identified in March, there have been only two known exported cases involving flights, one before and one after screening began in Liberia. A Liberian-American flew to Nigeria in July and sparked a small outbreak there, which has since been contained. The second man, Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, passed a screening when he left for the U.S. last month; he didn’t have a fever or symptoms until days after arriving in Dallas.
For the study, researchers used international flight data and Ebola case tallies to calculate that — without screening — three infected people a month could fly out of the region. They noted that screening isn’t foolproof: It can take up to three weeks for people exposed to Ebola to develop symptoms, so it is likely some cases will slip through. The out-of-control epidemic has killed an estimated 4,500 people. “As the outbreak grows, we will be seeing more international exportations of Ebola,” said Dr. Kamran Kahn of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, the study’s senior author. He added that disaster could strike if people with Ebola fly to less developed countries. “What might happen if cases were to wind up in a slum in Nairobi or Mumbai?” –Big Story