RMI Ebola Health Alert: Travel & Commercial Flights

 

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Travel

The CDC has advised non-essential travellers to avoid traveling to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The WHO has not issued any travel warning.

Commercial Flights

Liberia has closed all borders except major entry points including Roberts International Airport, James Spriggs Payne Airport, Foya Crossing, Bo Waterside Crossing, and Ganta Crossing. People traveling through these ports will be subject to advanced screening measures.

The CDC has implemented enhanced screening at 5 US airports that receive 94% of travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The United States of Transportation (DOT) permits airlines to deny boarding to air travellers with serious contagious diseases that could spread during flight. This includes travellers with Ebola symptoms.

Medical Evacuations

Any transport of Ebola patients or patients with Ebola symptoms requires coordination with international public health authorities and the Department of State of the receiving countries to balance the wellbeing of the patients with the risks to the general population. As this is a highly contagious disease with a high mortality rate, it is very unlikely that transit and host countries would provide clearance to private air ambulance companies transporting a person potentially affected by Ebola.

The US government has a portable Aeromedical Biological Containment System, designed by the CDC, and is working with Phoenix Air Group and the US Department of State. Phoenix Air is supplying a Gulfstream III intercontinental business jet. Two American patients were evacuated from Monrovia, Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Evacuations are considered on a case-by-case basis, and there is no guarantee that a US citizen will be evacuated.

On 6 August, the Spanish Government coordinated the medical evacuation of a Spanish missionary with an Airbus 310 from the Spanish Army and their medical team to Hospital Carlos III in Madrid, Spain.