News, images and video on Kenyan and global aviation

Ebola: No air travel restrictions recommended, says IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that no air travel restrictions have been recommended for three West African countries affected by an outbreak of Ebola. The three countries are Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Medical workers from the World Health Organization (WHO) prepare to cross a river that separates Guinea and Sierra Leone as they deliver medical supplies to areas hit by Ebola.

Medical workers from the World Health Organization (WHO) prepare to cross a river that separates Guinea and Sierra Leone as they deliver medical supplies to areas hit by Ebola.

There have been calls for travel restrictions to be imposed on countries affected by the current Ebola outbreak. In addition, some airlines have suspended flights to the three countries citing health concerns.

Kenya’s medical personnel are on high alert at points of entry. A few days ago, passengers on a Kenya Airways flight from West Africa were screened after one of them showed signs of illness. The ill passenger was subsequently found to be suffering from diabetes, hypertension and stroke. The man did not have Ebola.

Using information from the World Health Organization (WHO), IATA says the average traveller is not likely to be exposed to Ebola because the disease is transmitted through direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids from an infected living or dead person or animal. In any case, such contact is to be avoided.

“The risk of a tourist or businessman/woman becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported,” says an IATA statement which quotes the WHO.

Transmission of the Ebola virus only occurs when patients are displaying severe symptoms of the disease. Symptoms of Ebola include fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat; followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and at advanced stage, both internal and external bleeding.

In the rare event that an infected person was unknowingly transported by air, WHO assures that risks to other passengers is low.

WHO has so far not recommended any travel restrictions or closure of borders at points of entry. However, any traveler developing symptoms of Ebola within three weeks of returning from an affected region is advised to seek rapid medical attention.

The current outbreak of Ebola began in the Republic of Guinea in February 2014 and has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is reportedly the worst outbreak of Ebola in human history. Approximately 730 people have died since the outbreak began.

The first Ebola virus species was discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically.

, ,

Comments are currently closed.