|The Ebola virus (108,000 times magnification).|
Julian Bray writes: Aviation security personnel at all UK airports are on the alert for any outward signs signs of EBOLA and according to a UK government spokesman they 'are on the front line.' This is a disease for which there is no known cure and is easily passed, person to person, though the transfer of bodily fluids, sweat, saliva, blood and even handshaking if contaminated matter is on the hands of one or more members of a group.
The incubation period is anything from 3 to 21 days... Initial symptoms could be mistaken for early stages of the common Norovirus, winter vomiting bug, but this pernicious disease EBOLA takes 3 to thirty days to incubate, then for some 60 per cent its just too late. They die.
At the moment EBOLA is centred on West Africa, but daily both passenger and cargo aircraft are leaving the region and passsengers transferring to other flights, transiting through airport hubs and possibly contaminating/ infecting other passengers.
Graphic Courtesy THe Daily Mirror, London
Newsagency AFP quoting an unnamed official are reporting:
"We cannot rule out the possibility that an infected person arrives in Europe but the EU has the means to track and contain any outbreak rapidly. A suspected case was reported in Valencia in Spain, but it turned out to be negative. The system worked. The patient was isolated and tests were carried out quickly.
"There are an increasing number of cases now in the capital cities. The disease has an incubation period of 21 days and people do travel a lot. And it's becoming harder and harder to find local personnel to look after the sick in the countries affected."
The matter is also complicated by the high number of 'drug mules' using 'dead leg' passed on air tickets which are not easily tracked. These are people who swallow bags (usually knotted condoms) of uncut heroin, make frequent air and ferry trips, and then booked into cheap hotels to let nature take its course or in extreme cases a crude back street c-section, is sometimes performed to release the internally carried drug contraband packages. Clearly contaminated matter in these 'hotels' may still exist long after guests depart.
The UK Government has issued some advice - but in reality unless all persons passing thorough EBOLA affected areas or come into contact with infected matter from an infected person, possibly preparing the corpse for burial, there is little that can be offered. The advice is to frequently wash hands with soap and water, and stay awy from infected regions. Sadly there is little that can be done to stop the disease spreading. Infected animals can also pass on EBOLA.
JULIAN BRAY, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Ops,Travel/Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ UK Tel: 01733 345581 (HOME ISDN NEW NUMBER 01733 345020) e&oe