Updated CDC Guidance For Aviation In Wake Of Ebola Outbreak

Oct. 7, 2014
In general, according to the CDC packages or luggage should not pose a risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to airlines this past week in the aftermath of the first known airline traveler to the US who tested positive for Ebola, although he was reportedly not displaying symptoms at the time of his flights. The CDC guidelines apply to aircraft cleaners and cargo handlers, as well as airline crews, and include precautions for dealing with the transportation of sick passengers including the warning to “treat all bodily fluids as though they are infectious.” Here is a link to the latest guidance.

Cleaning personnel should be familiar with infection control protocols, especially the detailed guidance for airline cleaning personnel contained on the CDC website above. Cargo personnel are warned not to “handle packages visibly dirty from blood or bodily fluids” and to wash your hands often to prevent other infectious diseases.”  In general however, according to the CDC packages or luggage should not pose a risk as Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids (feces, saliva, urine, vomit and feces) from an infected person.

Since many cleaners and cargo handlers are contract employees, managers at those companies should ensure that they stay up-to-date with the latest CDC guidelines to avoid the spread of Ebola and other infectious diseases.  While many airlines have stopped flying to countries in West Africa with outbreaks of Ebola, as was evidenced by the Ebola patient in Dallas, infected passengers can fly to the US through third countries.