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Iran Press TV

UK to screen major transport hubs for Ebola virus

Iran Press TV

Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:23PM GMT

Britain says it will screen all passengers upon arrival at London's two main airports and the Eurostar high-speed railway terminals for possible cases of the Ebola virus.

Prime Minister David Cameron's office said on Thursday that the overall risk of spread in Britain remained low but the government will take additional screening measures as recommended by Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies.

"Advice from the chief medical officer today is that enhanced screening arrangements at the UK's main ports of entry for people travelling from the affected regions – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – will offer an additional level of protection to the UK," the statement read, adding, "Enhanced screening will initially be implemented at London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar terminals."

The statement follows reports that a British national, suspected of being infected with Ebola, recently died in Macedonia.

Public concern has increased over the Ebola disease spreading to London's transportation hubs, leading some politicians to call for increased border safety checks.

The Public Health England (PHE), an executive agency of the UK Department of Health, has cautioned that screening is not fully helpful at catching Ebola cases because symptoms take time to develop and are not unique to the virus.

On Wednesday, the United States ordered five airports to examine passengers coming from West Africa for fever. Canada announced it will take similar measures.

In August, the World Health Organization urged Ebola-affected countries to begin exit-screening all people departing international airports, seaports and ground crossings.

The WHO did not specify which countries should start screening travelers, but noted that the Ebola crisis involves transmission in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Ebola was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976 in an outbreak that killed 280 people.

The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can be also spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.


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