"We have imported a body temperature detector at a cost of $39,000 to be erected at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport," Abel Yeshaneh, spokesman for the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, said.
By Seleshi Tessema
Ethiopia has deployed devices at airports and border crossings that can read passengers' body temperatures as part of efforts to prevent the Ebola virus from reaching the country, thousands of cases of which have been recently documented in West Africa.
"We have imported a body temperature detector at a cost of $39,000 to be erected at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport," Abel Yeshaneh, spokesman for the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
"We have also put infrared machines in place that detect body temperature at border crossings," he said. "These machines have been donated by one of our international partners, UNICEF."
According to Yeshaneh, the machines are capable of screening "one subject within [every] three seconds."
"For the present, our surveillance mechanism is concentrated at airports as air travel poses immediate risk of importation of the disease," he said.
Ethiopia has already set up several observation posts along its borders with neighboring countries in a bid to prevent the entry of the virus into the country.
It has also set up two fully equipped quarantine facilities in Addis Ababa in the event that any Ebola cases are detected, according to Yeshaneh.
In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has killed at least 2,803 people in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization.
The tropical fever, which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals.
It can also reportedly spread through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have died of the disease.