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Travel companies face new crisis: Ebola

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Travel hubs may find themselves on the front line

The Ebola outbreak is unlike anything since the emergence of HIV/Aids, Thomas Frieden, director of the USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said. A fast global response is needed now, he stressed. Travel hubs may soon find themselves on the front line.

The outbreak has killed more than 3,860 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Share prices in travel companies ranging from British Airways and easyJet to Carnival Corp on news that a Spanish nurse, Teresa Romero, became the first person to contract the disease outside West Africa. Others who were in contact with her have been quarantined.

The UK and the US are starting enhanced screening for Ebola passengers coming from affected countries.

At New York’s LaGuardia Airport, 200 airline cabin cleaners went on strike yesterday to protest the lack of protection from exposure to Ebola for workers who have to clean up vomit and bathrooms. Signs on the picket lines of non-union Air Serv cleaners read “Air Serv exposes us to vomit, blood and faeces without protection” and “Air Serv puts worker safety at risk.”

Meanwhile, the UK is investigating reports that a Briton suspected of having the virus has died in Macedonia, while in Texas a county sheriff deputy was quarantined after visiting the home of the first person diagnosed with Ebola on US soil. However, Nigeria seems to have successfully contained the spread of the virus.

How not to catch Ebola:

Avoid direct contact with sick patients

Wear goggles to protect eyes

Clothing and clinical waste should be incinerated and any medical equipment that needs to be kept should be decontaminated

People who recover from Ebola should abstain from sex or use condoms for three months

BBC / Reuters

[image courtesy EPA]

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