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Ebola: Brussels Airport still not checking passengers from west Africa

4,300 people flew to Brussels from Ebola-affected countries last month. Credit: Reuters

Another flight from Ebola-affected west Africa has just touched down at Brussels airport.

Three weeks ago the virus - which has already claimed more than 4,000 lives - also arrived here en route to America.

Its carrier, Thomas Eric Duncan, lost his life in a Dallas hospital last week.

4,300 people flew to Brussels from Ebola-affected countries last month.
428 passengers then traveled onward to Britain.

Passengers are screened before leaving the Ebola-affected countries but at this hub airport there is no such precaution in place so far.

"There were no checks in place, which we found very surprising - especially given how nervous everyone is about this," one traveller who had just arrived from Guinea told ITV News today.

A few miles from the airport, at a warehouse run by Medicines Sans Frontieres, they are busy packing supplies for the worst affected Ebola areas.

They've already sent 40,000 disinfectant packs out. But does this charity leading the fight against Ebola believe the world is responding to the challenge?

"I don't know, I hope so. We are seeing action on the ground but it's happening slowly," says MSF's Sandra Smiley.

We desperately need more beds to treat sick people in and people to staff those beds

– Sandra Smiley, Medicens Sans Frontieres

At Antwerp's Institute of Tropical Medicine, scientists are working flat out in the fight against Ebola.

It was a team from here that first discovered the virus in what was then Zaire in 1976. The institute is now leading efforts to find a treatment for Ebola using blood transfusions from those who have survived it.

Survivors' antibodies could hold the key. But no one here is under any illusion about the challenge they face.

"You seen how things have gone wrong in Spain or the United States and these are countries that know what they are doing in terms of infectious diseases taking all the correct measures. It's worrying and it scares me," the institute's Director Professor Dr. Bruno Gryseels told me.

Back at Brussels Airport, the arrivals from West Africa's Ebola zone continue - and so too does this city's pivotal place in the unfolding Ebola crisis.

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