The current Ebola outbreak, the largest in history, started in Guinea and soon spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Additional cases cropped up in Nigeria and then in Senegal, where the outbreak has since been contained.
Now, with 7,178 cases and 3,338 deaths in West Africa, the disease has jumped again. One case has been reported in Dallas, the first case of Ebola ever diagnosed on US soil.
As the epidemic rages on, the disease may show up in additional countries, though those with advanced healthcare systems will be able to contain it.
While the Dallas patient reportedly traveled from Liberia to the US via Brussels, the places that are most likely to see cases of Ebola imported from West Africa are those with direct flights from the affected region. Here’s a map showing those countries in light red:
The patient diagnosed with Ebola in the US did not have any symptoms when he left Liberia or when he arrived in the US. That’s an important detail for two reasons.
First, people infected with Ebola who don’t yet have any symptoms are not contagious, so there is no risk to passengers on a plane unless someone is visibly ill and others come into contact with fluids like blood and vomit.
Second, CNN reports, the CDC is working with officials in West Africa to make sure everyone boarding a plane in that region is screened for fever. Travellers are unable to board if they have a fever. Passengers from the affected region are supposed to then be screened again when they land in the US, though Elizabeth Cohen of CNN has said it is unclear how well that policy is being followed.
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