Can the spread of Ebola to the UK be reduced?

Ebola could hit the UK in as few as 16 days according to recent reports but could this risk be reduced?

Ebola is spreading and has already hit Spain, one of the UK’s neighbouring countries. Concerns are rising about the risk of the virus coming to the UK and a timeframe has already been predicted.

Recent reports on Mobs Lab have revealed that there is a 50/50 chance of the Ebola virus hitting the UK in as few as 16 days. So what is being done to prevent the virus reaching the UK?

It has been suggested that hospitals and airports should introduce screenings particularly at major international airports but the defense secretary, Michael Fallon has dismissed these concerns saying “There’s no need for hysteria or panic of that kind. The World Health Organisation advises that screening is best done when you leave a country, when you leave Sierra Leone or leave Liberia or Guinea, rather than the country you come into.”

Professor Alessandro Vespignani from Northeastern University, Boston, has published a report on the Mobs Lab website that suggests the rate the Ebola virus is spreading could be massively reduced if Air Traffic Reductions (ATR) were to be put in place.

80% of air traffic reductions could lower the risk of the virus spreading to the UK by more than half. Even though the UK is on high alert and strategies are being put in place to reduce the risk of the virus from reaching its shores the risk is not as high as in the United States.

The U.S. and the UK are both international hubs and receive hundreds of international flights daily. But the U.S. is the second highest country at risk of an Ebola outbreak where as the UK is the sixth highest at risk. The report again suggests that if Air Traffic Reductions were to be put in place this would potentially reduce the risk by more than 2/3’s compared with the current prediction.

Feature photo courtesy of NIAID

Statistics from

One response to “Can the spread of Ebola to the UK be reduced?

  1. According to what definition is Spain a neighbour of the UK? I think Spain is about as much a neighbouring country as Nigeria with regard to the UK. And what exactly are ATR’s? Also, I don’t think Hospitals and Airports need to be capitalized, but that’s a minor point.


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