Ebola Comment: Dr Ben Neuman discusses whether flights should be grounded and UK passengers screened
Release Date 08 October 2014
As Ebola reaches Spain Dr Ben Neuman, Virologist, University of Reading, assesses the UK's response.
"The charity MSF has a long and excellent record of safely treating Ebola patients. They do this, in part, by frequently moving staff in order to avoid the mistakes that come from fatigue. Without commercial flights, it would become much more difficult for MSF to continue to be as effective.
"While screening sounds like a good idea at first, it would be difficult to put an effective Ebola screening programme into practice. Checking passengers arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea for fevers is a reasonable precaution, but would probably only catch the few people who started to show symptoms during the flight.
"The first few weeks after infection, a person would not normally have any external signs of having Ebola. Early-stage Ebola cases could only be detected by an invasive blood test, and even that might fail if the person has very recently contracted the virus.
"Providing doctors, nurses, new hospitals and enough money to get them running is a better long-term solution."