Cairo Airport disease detection gates fail as Hajj pilgrims return

Ahram Online, Wednesday 8 Oct 2014

The defective gates at Cairo's airport can't detect high temperatures, a possible symptom for the quickly-spreading Ebola epidemic

Cairo airport (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Equipment installed at Cairo's international airport to detect diseases like Ebola in passengers has proven to be defective, as Egyptian pilgrims return in droves from Saudi Arabia, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.

MENA said the defects in the electronic temperature gauges and thermal surveying cameras were discovered upon a visit by Health Minister Adel El-Adawi to the airport premises to check on the pilgrims' arrival.

The digital thermometer did not match the temperatures of passengers coming through the airport gates, the agency added. El-Adawi summoned a preventive medicine team to investigate the incident and sent other medical teams to receive the pilgrims.

The possibility of catching epidemic diseases is normally raised during the annual Hajj season, when Muslims flock to crowded holy sites in the Gulf kingdom – but fears were especially this year over the fatal Ebola virus, which is spread through human contact.

The death toll from Ebola has surpassed 3,870 in over 8,000 infected cases, according to the World Health Organisation.

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