Ebola airport screenings stop three cases a month from traveling
Airport screenings seem to be an effective way to prevent the spread of Ebola. A new study estimates airport screenings in West Africa help prevent three Ebola cases per month from leaving the region. These screenings currently take place in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea—the three countries hit hardest by the virus.
Passengers departing these countries have had to undergo screenings for Ebola since early August. The study also says these screenings are more efficient than screening passengers as they arrive at other countries. The United States began screening arriving passengers for Ebola at five maajor airports earlier this month.
Published in the journal The Lancet, researchers analyzed flight information and schedules along with Ebola virus data from West Africa to estimate the number of infected people that would have been likely to fly outside of the three countries. More than half of the travelers from those three countries are expected to arrive in the United Kingdom, Ghana, Senegal, France and Gambia.
In addition, the study found that exit screening was much more efficient and less disruptive than entry screening.
Without the screenings, researchers estimated that an average of 2.8 travelers with Ebola would travel internationally each month. The researchers did not account for the number of unreported Ebola cases.