Nigeria death shows Ebola can spread by air travel

Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world’s deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa’s largest city with 21 million people. The fact that the traveller from Liberia could board an international flight also raised new fears that other passengers could take the disease beyond Africa due to weak inspection of passengers and the fact that Ebola’s symptoms are similar to symptoms of other diseases such as malaria or typhoid. An American doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus. A Samaritan’s Purse news release said Dr Kent Brantly (pictured above, left) was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia, the capital.

In past Ebola outbreaks, many of the casualties have been healthcare workers who contracted the disease through their work caring for infected individuals.

Dr Kent Brantly, Samaritan’s Purse

The highly contagious virus is one of the most deadly diseases in the world. Ebola already had caused some 672 deaths across a wide swath of West Africa before the Nigeria case was announced. An outbreak in Lagos, Africa’s megacity where many live in cramped conditions, could be a major disaster. Doctors say health screens could be effective, but Ebola has a variable incubation period of between two and 21 days and cannot be diagnosed on the spot.