Daily Health Headlines

Airport Screenings Miss Roughly Half of Sick Travelers: Study

👤by Mary Elizabeth Dallas 0 comments 🕔Monday, March 2nd, 2015

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) --Airport screenings for infectious diseases often miss 50 percent or more of sick travelers, mostly because people do not tell the truth about their exposure to illnesses, a new study suggests.

"Honest reporting can not only improve on-site detection, but is essential to enable authorities to follow up with travelers who may have been exposed but have not yet developed symptoms," wrote researcher and graduate student Katelyn Gostic, from the Lloyd-Smith Lab at University of California, Los Angeles.

Using a mathematical model, researchers from UCLA and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analyzed airport screenings for six viruses: SARS coronavirus, Ebola virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Marburg virus, influenza H1N1, and influenza H7N9.

They found one of the biggest barriers to successful health screenings at airports is a lack of honesty among passengers. This is a particular issue among travelers trying to avoid delays, they noted.

Gaining a better understanding of how infectious diseases progress could help ensure that passengers are asked the appropriate questions in screening surveys, the researchers said. For example, being exposed to a symptomatic Ebola patient is a risk factor for contracting the disease.

At best, 25 percent of people were honest about their exposure to the flu during the 2009 pandemic, the study published recently in the journal eLife showed. The researchers pointed out that some passengers might have even concealed their symptoms with medication.

The study's authors suggested that policymakers consider devoting more resources to arrival screening, which could reduce the number of missed cases.

"We found that for diseases with a long incubation period such as Marburg and Ebola, taking passengers' temperature to test for fever is particularly ineffective at the start of an epidemic but does pick up more cases as it stabilizes," Gostic said. In the early phase of disease epidemics, questionnaires are the most effective way to detect potential illnesses, she added.

Although screening for fevers upon arrival at a destination has been criticized for being ineffective, the study found this method could catch cases that were missed at departure.

When it comes to diseases such as swine flu, which take a shorter time to incubate, Gostic noted that fever screening is the most effective method throughout an epidemic.

Infrared noncontact thermometers do not pick up all fevers, usually only catching them 70 percent of the time, the researchers pointed out.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

Article Credits / Source

Mary Elizabeth Dallas / HealthDay

Mary Elizabeth Dallas wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCE: eLife, news release, Feb. 19, 2015

View More Articles From Mary Elizabeth Dallas 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Travel Health Articles

High Altitude Sickness Symptoms

High Altitude Sickness Symptoms0

People living at lower altitudes who enjoy a winter ski vacation may be at risk for acute altitude sickness (acute mountain sickness), the most common of the so-called altitude diseases. Doctors do not know exactly why altitude sicknesses occur, but ...

Travel Medicine

Travel Medicine0

Many international travelers may be surprised to learn that they have no health insurance coverage for illnesses or injuries that must be treated during their trip abroad. In particular, the U.S. Social Security Medicare program does not provide any ...



Shortness of breath has many causes affecting either the breathing passages and lungs or the heart or blood vessels. An average 150-pound (70 kilogram) adult will breathe at an average rate of 14 breaths per minute at rest. Excessively rapid breathing ...



A urinalysis is simply an analysis of the urine. It is a very common test that can be performed in many health-care settings, including doctors' offices, urgent-care facilities, laboratories, and hospitals. A urinalysis test is performed by ...



Malaria Prevention Many travelers to tropical countries are concerned about the possibility of contracting malaria, a potentially fatal infection transmitted by the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. While malaria is most common in Africa, ...

View More Travel Health Articles


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!