Ebola is threatening to become a global or continental epidemic. Hundreds of people have died in West Africa, and Kenya is particularly in a risky position because of all the flights originating from affected countries.

Yesterday, national carrier Kenya Airways released this statement on the measures it is taking, considering it has scheduled flights right into the heart of this deadly virus.

Here’s the statement.

Arising from the unfortunate Ebola outbreak in parts of West Africa, we wish to update that, Kenya Airways has taken several precautionary measures, as follows:

  • We have taken proactive measures to educate all Kenya Airways’ staff, and especially those on the ground in Sierra Leone, on Ebola, how it is transmitted and how to keep safe.
  • Our crew members have also been supplied and trained on the use of Universal Precaution Kits (UPKs) to ensure that they do not come into contact with body fluids while carrying out their duties.
  • Kenya Airways is represented in the National Aviation Pandemic Preparedness Committee(through steering committee of CAPSCA that is chaired by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority). This enables us access information real time on the country position during such situations.
  • We continuously monitor updates from World Health Organisation and the International Air Transport Association on the disease, its spread and for guidelines on recommended actions.
  • Additionally,surveillance is carried out at JKIA for all flights from West Africa by Port Health Unit that has this mandate.

It is also important to note that Ebola is transmitted by contact with body fluids of an ailing patient. However,during the incubation period (1 — 21 days), the infected person is well enough to travel and cannot transmit infection. When the symptoms set in, after this period, the person is too sick to travel and soon becomes bedridden. Hence the chances of being infected on board have been estimated to be minimal.

So far Ebola has not been declared an epidemic/pandemic. No travel bans or advisory have been given or recommended.