The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, increasing their warnings on Ebola, is advising airlines and jet staff to treat all body fluids as infectious, even on domestic flights.
“Treat all body fluids as though they are infectious,” said thelatest CDC update to airlines. The update notes that if Ebola is suspected, aircraft can be cleaned mid-flight. The update is apparently meant to stress the rights airlines have to block anyone who appears “ill” from boarding.
The agency this week suggested that the Ebola crisis could strike 500,000 by the end of January. Others note that some 200,000 Africans from nations hit by the deadly virus have visas to travel to the United States.
The CDC is getting out in front of what could be a problem in the United States if somebody with the virus slips through security checkpoints overseas and arrives in America. In addition to the new precautions to airlines, the CDC has also provided hospitals and health centers with special protocols on handling people suspected of having Ebola.
Below is the updated CDC airline advisory:
Interim Guidance about Ebola Infection for Airline Crews, Cleaning Personnel, and Cargo Personnel
Updated September 19, 2014
Purpose: To give information to airlines on stopping ill travelers from boarding, managing and reporting onboard sick travelers, protecting crew and passengers from infection, and cleaning the plane and disinfecting contaminated areas.
— A U.S. Department of Transportation rule permits airlines to deny boarding to air travelers with serious contagious diseases that could spread during flight, including travelers with possible Ebola symptoms. This rule applies to all flights of U.S. airlines, and to direct flights (no change of planes) to or from the United States by foreign airlines.
— Cabin crew should follow routine infection control precautions for onboard sick travelers. If in-flight cleaning is needed, cabin crew should follow routine airline procedures using personal protective equipment available in the Universal Precautions Kit. If a traveler is confirmed to have had infectious Ebola on a flight, CDC will conduct an investigation to assess risk and inform passengers and crew of possible exposure.
— Hand hygiene and other routine infection control measures should be followed.
— Treat all body fluids as though they are infectious.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.