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Taxis, planes and viruses: How deadly Ebola can spread

Published on Jul 31, 2014 6:31 PM
 
 A photo taken on July 22, 2014 shows protection, detection and health-care equipment set up at Conakry's airport to fight against the spreading of the Ebola virus. For scientists tracking the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, it's not about complex virology and genotyping, but about how contagious microbes - like humans - use planes, bikes and taxis to spread. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (Reuters) - For scientists tracking the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, it's not about complex virology and genotyping, but about how contagious microbes - like humans - use planes, bikes and taxis to spread.

So far, authorities have taken no action to limit international travel in the region. The airlines association IATA said on Thursday that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is not recommending any such restrictions or frontier closures.

The risk of the virus moving to other continents is low, disease specialists say. But tracing every person who may have had contact with an infected case is vital to getting on top of the outbreak within West Africa, and doing so often means teasing out seemingly routine information about victims' lives.

In Nigeria, which had an imported case of the virus in a Liberian-American who flew to Lagos this week, authorities will have to trace all passengers and anyone else he may have crossed paths with to avoid the kind of spread other countries in the region have suffered.

 
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