pet passport

Call for more vigilence and screening to control Ebola threat

I am mystified at our inability to monitor people at risk from Ebola virus coming to this country.

I have just gone through a series of hoops to have my dog immunised for travel in Europe.  I now have a pet passport and will have to have her wormed at a vets in France before the animal can return to the UK.

The passport has been checked by vets in the UK and verified by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).  No doubt when we finally travel to Europe it will be inspected and checked again and I will be questioned about the dog.  She has chip information which is another requirement.

And yet I saw a top medic interviewed on television today who says hospitals are going to have to monitor people with mysterious symptoms and it will be up to the individual to point out that they have just returned from West Africa.  Ministers said Britain had the expertise and resources to deal with the deadly Ebola virus should it come to the UK, after holding an emergency Cobra meeting on Wednesday to consider the threat from the disease’s deadliest ever outbreak.

But during the programme I did this morning on Marlow fm called Mid Morning Matters, Sky news reported that even NHS staff are worried that they know little about the illness. There appears to be confusion, especially about monitoring the whereabouts of people at risk.  Surely if animals have to have special passports and checks it shouldn’t be beyond our high security, high tech world to monitor people at customs and highlighting those at risk?

Surely people returning or visiting from locations where epidemics are killing hundreds should be screened before they travel and on arrival, just as my dog has had to be screened at the vets and had her health checked before being given a passport?

I am not wishing to be scaremongering but it is frightening that the Ebola outbreak spreading across West Africa is being described as the biggest outbreak ever recorded and to date it has killed nearly 700 people.  There is also no known cure.

The aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has described the disease as “out of control”, and last week fears grew of a global outbreak after a case was confirmed in Lagos, Nigeria.

The disease first emerged in 1976, and has since then killed an estimated 2,000 people. Previous outbreaks have had mortality rates as high as 90 per cent, though the chance of dying from the most recent strand appears to be at around 60 per cent.

I gather from the news that boffins are trying to find a cure and in the meantime medics are being told to be vigilant and isolate suspected victims.  I say people ought to be screened abroad as well as on arrival.  What do you think?

carla delaneyCarla Delaney Communications
Business Writer of the Year Award Winner
01628 526456

4 thoughts on “Call for more vigilence and screening to control Ebola threat

  1. Hi Carla.
    I agree wholeheartedly about the dangers of Ebola getting into our local population. The very practical challenge for our border force face is that incubation can take between 2 and 21 days, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. Outside of quarantine for all travelling from high risk areas there is little guarantee of stopping proliferation of the virus. Would you be happy to isolated at LHR for 3 weeks after your trip? I know that I am only too happy to get home after a long flight. The logistics of housing 300+ passengers from every West African arrival for 3 weeks would be impossible to manage. Then there are the passengers who haven’t flown in on a direct flight and who knows where they have stopped over and who may have been infected at another European hub?

    Similar to personal hygiene habits, such as those we were vigilant about for risks of Aids, SARS and bird / swine flu, we must be careful to follow WHO advice. Handshakes are a very British institution, although this should be avoided in Ebola infected countries. The risk is great and the consequences far more serious than some of the many virus threats that have originated in other third world countries. We can only be on our guard and be prepared to cope with it. The events affecting those poor people are both upsetting and tragic. We can only learn from the good work that medical staff are doing to try and contain the virus.


  2. HI Jon. This long and well constructed blog by “birdflu666” appears quite credible or may be a politically motivated rant. We cannot prove or disprove the allegations made within the blog without knowing more of the facts. The only fact we do know is that many unfortunate people in West Africa are either very ill or already dead. The media may well be scaremongering for a sensational headline. The only thing we can take from the media and WHO is that we must be prepared as best we can, should the virus reach this country. Let’s not panic but simply be ready to react appropriately.

    Politically motivated conspiracy? – Maybe! Unbelievably real? – A well written blog from an unknown source. We must make our own conclusions about what is truth.


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