The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new list of flight guidelines to address the threat of Ebola virus.
As the disease spreads rapidly in Africa and international workers join in the fight to control and limit the exposure of the virus, fears run rampant that the disease could spread easily to other nations from an infected airline passenger.
The purpose of the CDC release is to give information to airlines on stopping ill travelers from boarding, managing and reporting onboard sick travelers, protecting crew and passengers from infection, and cleaning the plane and disinfecting contaminated areas.
Key points from the new guidelines:
- A U.S. Department of Transportation rule permits airlines to deny boarding to air travelers with serious contagious diseases that could spread during flight, including travelers with possible Ebola symptoms. This rule applies to all flights of U.S. airlines, and to direct flights (no change of planes) to or from the United States by foreign airlines.
- Cabin crew should follow routine infection control precautions for onboard sick travelers. If in-flight cleaning is needed, cabin crew should follow routine airline procedures using personal protective equipment available in the Universal Precautions Kit. If a traveler is confirmed to have had infectious Ebola on a flight, CDC will conduct an investigation to assess risk and inform passengers and crew of possible exposure.
- Hand hygiene and other routine infection control measures should be followed.
- Treat all body fluids as though they are infectious.
The guidelines were released as 3,000 U.S. troops began to deploy to countries in West Africa ravaged by the virus, in order to set up aid stations and provide relief.
Thousands of American military forces will be moving into Africa over the next 30 days to set up facilities and form training teams to help the Africans treat Ebola victims.