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Why Screening for Ebola By Taking Temperature CAN’T Work

The Los Angeles Times explains why trying to screen Ebola victims by taking their temperature won’t work:

A person could pass body temperature checks performed at the airports by taking ibuprofen or any common analgesic. And prospective passengers have much to fear from identifying themselves as sick, said Kim Beer, a resident of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, who is working to get medical supplies into the country to cope with Ebola.

 

“It is highly unlikely that someone would acknowledge having a fever, or simply feeling unwell,” Beer said via email. “Not only will they probably not get on the flight — they may even be taken to/required to go to a ‘holding facility’ where they would have to stay for days until it is confirmed that it is not caused by Ebola. That is just about the last place one would want to go.

 

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The potential disincentive for passengers to reveal their own symptoms was echoed by Sheka Forna, a dual citizen of Sierra Leone and Britain who manages a communications firm in Freetown. Forna said he considered it “very possible” that people with fever would medicate themselves to appear asymptomatic.

 

It would be perilous to admit even nonspecific symptoms at the airport, Forna said in a telephone interview. “You’d be confined to wards with people with full-blown disease.”

In other words, Ebola carriers who fail to take something to lower their temperature are signing their own death warrants.

The incentive to cheat is so high – life or death – that testing through temperature alone is totally worthless.