UK: Ebola Screening Comes to Heathrow

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Even in countries not likely to be widely affected by Ebola people are beginning to worry about the growing outbreak of the disease.

Tensions in the U.S. are rising after a Dallas healthcare worker was diagnosed with Ebola just days ago. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now implemented screening procedures at airports for people arriving from nations hit hard by the outbreak.

The U.K. also has no intention of allowing the outbreak to spread and has now begun similar procedures. According to a BBC News report several passengers at London Heathrow Airport were screened for Ebola on Tuesday. The passengers had their temperatures taken and were given a questionnaire that included questions about possible symptoms and ebola contact while overseas.

The U.K. government stated that the enhanced screening procedures have been implemented for people traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. According to the BBC no direct flights from those countries enter the U.S. and around 85% of people traveling from those countries to the U.K. will travel through Heathrow.

Public Health England (PHE) released a statement on Tuesday detailing the new screening procedures. After completing the questionnaire and providing their temperature passengers will either be free to go or will be subject to additional health screenings. The screenings are scheduled to roll out later this week to Gatwick Airport and the St Pancras railway station's Eurostar terminal.

"Anyone who is well but may have been at increased risk of contact with the Ebola virus will be given printed information and a PHE contact number to call in case they develop symptoms," said Paul Cosford, director for health protection at PHE. "People infected with Ebola can only spread the virus to other people once they have developed symptoms, such as a fever. Even if someone has symptoms, the virus is only transmitted by direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the current Ebola outbreak is the largest outbreak of the disease ever seen. The WHO has logged over 4,000 deaths from Ebola during the current outbreak, which began in March.