UK's Heathrow starts screening for Ebola

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - OCTOBER 15, 2014

The UK’s Heathrow International Airport is to start screening for Ebola among passengers flying into the UK from Ebola risk countries.

British health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told MPs a "handful" of cases were expected to reach the UK before Christmas.

Ebola screening is to start at the airport’s Terminal 1, before being extended to other terminals, Gatwick airport and Eurostar by the end of the week.

In September, about 1 000 people arrived in the UK from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa. It is estimated that 85% of all arrivals to the UK from affected countries will come through Heathrow.

Most passengers flying from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where Ebola has killed more than 4 000 people, are screened before being allowed to board the plane.

Under the new UK screening measures, they will be identified by Border Force officers upon arrival. Nurses and consultants from Public Health England will then carry out the actual screening.

Passengers will have their temperatures taken, complete a risk questionnaire and have contact details recorded.

Anyone with suspected Ebola will be taken to hospital.

Passengers deemed to be at high risk due to contact with Ebola patients, but who are displaying no symptoms, will be contacted daily by Public Health England.

Meanwhile, a UN medical official infected with Ebola while working in Liberia has died in a hospital in Germany.