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There is a ‘nightmare’ chance that the Ebola virus could become airborne if the epidemic is not brought under control fast enough, the chief of the UN’s Ebola mission has warned.
Anthony Banbury, the Secretary General’s Special Representative, said that aid workers are racing against time to bring the epidemic under control, in case the Ebola virus mutates and becomes even harder to deal with.
“The longer it moves around in human hosts in the virulent melting pot that is West Africa, the more chances increase that it could mutate,” he told the Telegraph. “It is a nightmare scenario [that it could become airborne], and unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out.”
Why hasn’t the U.S. closed its airports to travelers from Ebola-ravaged countries?
Thomas Eric Duncan, the patient currently being treated in the Dallas area, boarded a flight from Liberia on Sept. 19 and arrived in Texas on Sept. 20. United Airlines said Wednesday that it was told by the CDC that Duncan had used the airline to travel from Brussels to Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., before flying from Dulles to Dallas-Fort Worth.
Authorities have said repeatedly that there is no danger of anyone getting sick from flying with Duncan because was not symptomatic at the time.
....More travel restrictions, though, aren't going to make the world safer when it comes to Ebola, according to several global public health organizations. In fact, they might make the situation worse.
Air travel restrictions ignore the way Ebola is transmitted:
Ebola can only be contracted through direct contact with a sick person's bodily fluids. ....It isn't transmitted through the air, so you are more likely to catch a cold on a flight than Ebola.
“It is not an optimal measure for controlling the import of Ebola virus disease,” said chief United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. “The measure does not reflect what is known about the way in which the virus passes between people."
....The restrictions are also redundant:
If someone isn't exhibiting symptoms of Ebola, that person is not infectious. ....
....Despite the fact that an infected passenger flew from Liberia to Dallas this month, that passenger, Duncan, was not sick -- and was therefore not contagious -- while he was traveling. And once people become symptomatic, they become very sick, very quickly.
....Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are already economically isolated because this epidemic has spread far wider and lasted much longer than any other Ebola outbreak in history. What those countries need most now is assistance from the world.
More flight restrictions will only make it more difficult for life-saving aid and medical professionals to reach West Africa. The restrictions already in place have proved so problematic that U.S. military forces are building an "air bridge" to get health workers and medical supplies to affected areas.
"Any discontinuation of transport will affect humanitarian aid, doctors, nurses and human resources entering the country, the transfer of biological sampling and equipment for hospitals," Daniel Menucci, a representative for the World Health Organization Travel and Transport Task Force, said in August. “All of this needs international transporting, international airlines. This will create more problems in helping the countries most affected.”
originally posted by: sheepslayer247
Who's to say we can't restrict flights coming to the US from Africa, and still allow aid/supplies to be transported there?
Me thinks they are more worried about the loss of revenue than they are controlling the disease.
The number of people infected with Ebola is doubling every 20 to 30 days, and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has forecast that there could be as many as 1.4m cases of Ebola by January, in the worst case scenario.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of Congo raised its death toll from the dealy Ebola virus to 42 today as it struggled to contain the second outbreak of the deadly disease in Africa this year.
The latest figure includes eight health workers, Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said in a message sent to AFP.
Some 70 cases of the deadly virus have been confirmed in a remote region near the town of Boende some 800 kilometres northwest of Kinshasa, with a mortality rate of around 60 per cent.
According to the World Health Organization and the authorities in Kinshasa, the outbreak is not related to the worst ever epidemic of the virus which has killed more than 3,000 people in west Africa this year.
A month ago, the government said 32 people had been killed in the outbreak, the seventh Ebola outbreak since the disease was first identified in the country in 1976.