The General Public is hereby informed that the attention of Government has been drawn to two cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) with possible connections to the Lungi International Airport.
In an effort to further strengthen airport screening and security, a combined team of Government and International officials met at Lungi International Airport to investigate these incidents and to further review the current screening processes at the Airport.
During the briefing at the airport, officials were informed of a case of Ebola detected in the community and confirmed by laboratory testing on January 2, 2015. This patient had worked at the airport in mid-December, but has not worked since that time. One contact of the patient is also an airport employee, but has not worked since December 25, 2014. While there was no transmission risk with this patient and the contact, efforts to enhance the prevention of any future events are being implemented.
“Screening must occur around the clock, by trained professionals, to detect and evaluate any suspicion of Ebola in a worker or traveler”, said Minister of Health and Sanitation Dr. Abubakarr Fofanah. At the airport briefing, officials from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the British Military, the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO discussed the current state of the airport’s screening and security.
Together with NERC, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport, State House Officials and our International Partners, the following additional measures would be put in place immediately:
- Implementation of Standard Operating Procedures for enhanced airport employee screening and health monitoring, to include documentation of employee temperatures at the airport front gate and on entry to the terminal, improving on existing Ministry of Health guidelines
- Improved monitoring of disease hotspots in the community around the airport with efforts to communicate to employees on ways to prevent infection and transmission of disease
- Additional trained screening staff to allow round the clock airport entry checks, including trained health workers to assist in evaluation of travelers and employees
- Additional Support to Ebola prevention and control work in Kaffu Bullom, including surveillance, quarantine, contact tracing and availability of dedicated ambulances to assist the airport with any suspected cases needing further evaluation at nearby healthcare facility
“Through collaboration among our government and international partners, we will take these additional steps for ensuring safe and secure air travel in Sierra Leone”, said NERC CEO Major Conteh.