Moscow's airports are on high alert to keep Africa's worst-ever Ebola outbreak off Russian territory, ITAR-Tass reported Wednesday.
"To prevent the arrival of someone with this illness on Russian territory, passengers go through a thermal-imaging device that enables the detection of high temperatures," an unidentified specialist from federal health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said in comments carried by ITAR-Tass.
The worst Ebola outbreak on record is presently under way in Africa, with 1,603 documented cases and 887 deaths since March, according to the World Health Organization. Although the virus has never before spread beyond the confines of Africa, the recent epidemic has triggered fears that it could make its way to Europe.
According to Rospotrebnadzor head Anna Popova, the recent epidemic is especially worrisome because it marks the first instance of the virus having spread through an urban area, and also the first time it has sprouted up in Western Africa.
As part of the special precautions being taken by medical workers in Moscow airports, she said, passengers arriving from European countries were being closely monitored because there were no direct flights to the Russian capital from Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea, where the outbreak has been recorded.
Popova said medical services in the airports are paying special attention to people who appear to be ill, and measures are being taken to treat and examine anyone fitting that description upon arrival.
"Infection facilities have been checked for preparedness to accept patients with especially dangerous illnesses," Popova said in comments carried by ITAR-Tass.