Ebola virus takes the plane - from Liberia to Lagos

Monday, 28 July, 2014

A man has died in Lagos, Nigeria, from Ebolavirus disease (EBV) after flying from Liberia. See report on ABC News. The flight was not direct; he transited in Togo.

Nigerian authorities are evidently having problems tracing contacts as it seems some passengers have fled from the possibility of quarantine. See report in Nursing World Nigeria.

This is the third instance of Ebobavirus using air travel to spread. The first was in a biologist who took Ebolavirus from Cote d'Ivore to Switzerland in November 1994 (Le Guenno et al 1995). She survived and there were no secondary cases. The second was a doctor working in Gabon who took Ebolavirus to Johannesburg (South Africa) in November 1995. A nurse died, the doctor survived (Anonymous 1996; van der Linde et al 1996; Richards et al 2000). Although there were 300 contacts with the two patients in South Africa, only the one nurse working as an anaesthetic assistant, became infected (Richards et al 2000).

Watch and listen to Professor Lucille Bloomberg from South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases talking about this case on YouTube.

Literature Cited
Anonymous. Ebola haemorrhagic fever. Weekly Epidemiological Record 1996;71(47):359.
Le Guenno B, Formenty P, Wyers M, Gounon P, Walker F, Boesch C. Isolation and partial characterisation of a new strain of Ebola virus. Lancet. 1995;345(8960):1271-1274.
Richards G, Murphy S, Jobson R, Mer M, Zinman C, Taylor R, Swanepoel R, Duse A, Sharp G, De La Rey IC, Kassianides C. Unexpected Ebola virus in a tertiary setting. Critical Care Medicine 2000;28(1):240-244.
Van der Linde I. Ebola questions still unanswered. South African Medical Journal 1996:86:19-20.

Posted by Rick Speare
Updated 29 July 2014