Sunday, 21 May 2017

Ebola in the DRC: list of border-checking countries at seven...

Starting from WHO Regional Office for Africa Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Situation Report No. 2,[1] there have been an increasing number of countries that are screening ill-looking people for EVD at their ports of entry. Currently [7] there are 7 and they are:

  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa
  • United Republic of Tanzania
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe 

Quite a few more than I listed yesterday. 

Latest EVD figures form the DRC.
Click on image to enlarge.
No borders are closed to travellers from, or who have travelled through, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is good news.

Screenshot from SitRep No.5.[1]
Click on image to enlarge.
Presumably this screening relies on the appearance of signs of illness, questionnaires and perhaps thermal camera images to identify feverish people.

As I alluded to yesterday, these efforts are not very effective at actually picking up EVD cases from among a milieu of other febrile illness that stumble through a port of entry.

Studies - some of which are summed up in this Canadian review [2] - are usually not supportive of any practical benefit from using fever as a screening tool to pick out a single disease in passing travellers.[3,4,5] 

However, these screening efforts do play a role in making citizens and politicians feel better and more useful. The precautions may also be helpful in keeping travel flowing.[6] Whether the continued flow of travel during an epidemic that may leak from a hotzone is a good thing or not will no doubt (once again) be dissected after a more more transmissible pathogen sweeps across the world I expect.

References....

  1. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/255463/1/EbolaDRC-1652017-eng.pdf?ua=1
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0071254/
  3. http://afludiary.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/study-thermal-scanners-pandemic.html
  4. http://afludiary.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/eid-journal-evaluating-border-entry.html
  5. http://afludiary.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/why-airport-screening-cant-stop-mers.html
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27390092
  7. http://www.afro.who.int/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=10836&Itemid=2593