The UK’s chief medical officer has warned that Britain should expect a “handful” of Ebola cases over the next few months.
The British Government’s Chief Medical Advisor Dame Sally Davies said on Saturday any Ebola cases in the UK would be a “spill-over” from West Africa.
Her remarks came shortly after British medical staff participated in eight-hour Ebola readiness drills across the country.
Davies made the comments in defense of her advice that the UK should introduce medical screening for the deadly virus in some of its airports.
She went on to say that even thought the screening was a “blunt instrument,” it would definitely save lives and rejected criticism in a leaked email circulated amongst medical practitioners that the screening was a “political gesture”.
On Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office issued a statement saying that it will screen all passengers upon arrival at London’s two main airports and the Eurostar high-speed railway terminals for possible cases of the Ebola virus.
The statement came after reports that a British national, suspected of being infected with Ebola, recently died in Macedonia.
On Wednesday, the United States ordered five airports to examine passengers coming from West Africa for fever. Canada announced it will take similar measures.
According to the World Health Organization’s latest report, the Ebola Virus’s death toll has exceeded 4,000.
The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can also be spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.
Ebola was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976 in an outbreak that killed 280 people.
It remains one of the world’s most virulent diseases, which kills between 25 to 90 percent of those who fall sick.
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