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Low risk for Ebola transmission in air travel: WHO

Xinhua, August 15, 2014 Adjust font size:

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday reiterated its position that the risk of transmission of Ebola virus disease during air travel remains low.

"Unlike infections such as influenza or tuberculosis, Ebola is not airborne," Isabelle Nuttall, the Director of WHO Global Capacity Alert and Response told a press conference.

She noted the deadly viruses can only be transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is sick with the disease.

She said while there is just a small chance that someone on the plane is sick with Ebola, the likelihood of other passengers and crew having contact with their body fluids is even smaller.

"Usually when someone is sick with Ebola, they are so unwell that they cannot travel," she added.

"Because the risk of Ebola transmission on airplanes is so low, WHO does not consider air transport hubs at high risk for further spread of Ebola," Nuttall noted.

WHO declared on last Friday the Ebola outbreak raging in West Africa constitutes an international public health emergency and provided advice to countries to help contain the current Ebola outbreak and prevent it from spreading further.

As of Aug. 11, the cumulative number of cases attributed to Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone stands at 1,975, including 1,069 deaths.

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