People infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa can avoid detection in airport screenings and board a plane with ibuprofen and lies, according to healthcare experts.
Experts have called for more to be done to identify the virus in travellers, as the current screening methods are insufficient.
“The fever-screening instruments run low and aren’t that accurate,” infection control specialist Sean Kaufman, president of the Atlanta-based biosafety company Behavioral-Based Improvement Solutions, told Reuters.
“And people can take ibuprofen to reduce their fever enough to pass screening, and why wouldn’t they? If it will get them on a plane so they can come to the United States and get effective treatment after they’re exposed to Ebola, wouldn’t you do that to save your life?”
It was revealed this week that the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed in the United States had lied about his exposure to the virus on a questionnaire at Monrovia airport in Liberia. The form filled in by Thomas Eric Duncan, obtained by the Associated Press, revealed he had filled in “no” to all of the questions.
Duncan had no symptoms of the virus when he left Liberia and fever scans showed he had a normal body temperature, health officials said. He then flew to Brussels and then Dulles airport in Virginia, before landing in Dallas, Texas.