The study highlights that the most effective way to restrict Ebola's global spread is to control the disease at the source of the current outbreak in West Africa.

"This research shows that entry screening can reduce the overall chances of Ebola being brought into the UK, but that some infected passengers may still get through undetected," explained professor Tom Solomon from University of Liverpool in Britain.

The researchers examined the current growth rate of the epidemic in West Africa alongside airline travel patterns to predict how many people with Ebola are likely to attempt to fly.

The research showed that approximately 29 Ebola infected people are expected to try and leave West Africa by the end of the year and only 10 would be likely to display signs of the infection that could be picked up by airport screening.

"We developed a mathematical model to consider how long people incubate the virus alongside how likely airline passengers are to be infected," said epidemiologist Jonathan Read from University of Liverpool.

"From this we were able to estimate that 10 of the 29 people likely to leave West Africa via airports this year would have symptoms of the disease and so could be detected at exit screening," Read added. The study appeared in the medical journal Lancet.

 

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