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*************** UPDATE: EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE (EVD) - WEST AFRICA ***************
 

UPDATE - 15 August 2014: (Extract from http://www.who.int/csr/don/2014_08_15_ebola/en/) Between 12 and 13 August 2014, a total of 152 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 76 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. 

Airport operators (especially those with direct flights to or from affected countries or indirect flows via connecting airports in Africa) are recommended to monitor the situation, contact and coordinate actions with concerned air carriers as well as health authorities at local/regional/national levels.

WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied except in cases where individuals have been confirmed or are suspected of being infected with EVD or where individuals have had contact with cases of EVD. (Contacts do not include properly-protected health-care workers and laboratory staff.) Temporary recommendations from the Emergency Committee with regard to actions to be taken by countries can be found at:

http://www.who.int/entity/mediacentre/news/statements/2014/ebola-20140808/en/index.html

Please check the latest updates in the WHO website:

WHO Statement on the Meeting of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee - 8 August 2014:

After discussion and deliberation on the information provided, the Committee advised that:

  • the Ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes an ‘extraordinary event’ and a public health risk to other States;
  • the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries.
  • a coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola.

It was the unanimous view of the Committee that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have been met.

ADVICE:

States with Ebola transmission

  • States with Ebola transmission (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone at this stage) should conduct exit screening of all persons at international airports, seaports and major land crossings, for unexplained febrile illness consistent with potential Ebola infection. The exit screening should consist of, at a minimum, a questionnaire, a temperature measurement and, if there is a fever, an assessment of the risk that the fever is caused by EVD. Any person with an illness consistent with EVD should not be allowed to travel unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation.

States with a potential or confirmed Ebola Case, and unaffected States with land borders with affected States

  • Any State newly detecting a suspect or confirmed Ebola case or contact, or clusters of unexplained deaths due to febrile illness, should treat this as a health emergency, take immediate steps in the first 24 hours to investigate and stop a potential Ebola outbreak by instituting case management, establishing a definitive diagnosis, and undertaking contact tracing and monitoring.

All States

  • There should be no general ban on international travel or trade; restrictions outlined in these recommendations regarding the travel of EVD cases and contacts should be implemented.

There should be no general ban on international travel or trade; restrictions outlined in these recommendations regarding the travel of EVD cases and contacts should be implemented.

Please check the complete WHO press release here

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Please note that the WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regards to this event, nor does it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.

Extract from the WHO website: 

"Screening of passengers at points of entry (arrival or departure) is costly and expected to have very limited impact because it is very unlikely to detect any arriving person infected with EVD. This is particularly true for EVD with its incubation period of 2 to 21 days and symptoms that are not specific. As part of this, the use of thermal scanners that rely on the presence of ‘fever’ in arriving passengers is costly, unlikely to detect any arriving person infected with EVD and is not encouraged. Travel restrictions, or closure of borders at points of entry are not recommended."


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An introduction to Aviation Health

Airports Council International (ACI) is working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and other organisations involved in the coordination of the response to Health-related emergencies.

ACI is an active participant of the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) project, led by ICAO.

ACI recommends its members to review and practice airport contingency plans for public health emergencies. The ‘Airport Preparedness Guidelines for Outbreaks of Communicable Disease’ and the ‘Business Continuity Management Framework and Case Studies for Health-Related Disruptions at Airports’ are available as a download from the "Documentation" web page.

Arturo García-Alonso
Head, Passenger and Airport Services
agarcia-alonso@aci.aero