As the threat of the Ebola virus intensifies, preventative measures against the spread of the disease are more important than ever.

The Ebola virus, which has killed several thousands of people in West Africa, is feared to spread to other countries as people travel to and from the continent to other locations. As a result, health organisations and security professionals across the world have intensified checks at airports and other checkpoints to spot early signs of the disease among passengers.

In Asia, health professionals are using old drills they used previously when the bird flu and SARS epidemics were a danger in the same way as the Ebola virus is today. Their current measures involve using an infrared thermal imaging camera to scan those passing through checkpoints.

The thermal camera is more than suitable for spotting elevated fever conditions in a person; due to increased body temperature, the distribution of heat on a person's face and skin can be much higher than on a person without a fever, helping to spot an illness and ensure steps are taken to prevent the spread of Ebola and other diseases.

Thermal imaging is essential for this screening process as it can be used without making direct contact with a person, preventing accidental contamination through bodily contact. The user simply stands as close as possible to the person affected, scans their face with the camera and if abnormally high temperature readings are detected further action can be taken. Although the chances of a passenger on board a plane having Ebola is very low, performing these checks at international airports ensures that those affected by the disease can be quarantined, treated and the spread of Ebola is minimised. Once the initial suspicion of Ebola is verified, health professionals can use dedicated medical equipment to further treat the disease. 

The benefits of using a thermal camera in this application are vast. The non-invasive scanning of the cameras ensures that passengers are not blood tested or touched directly, high temperatures can be flagged up almost instantly, traffic through airports doesn't have to be slowed significantly as scanning is fast and it isolates the spread of the disease by preventing body contact with those potentially infected with Ebola.



The FLIR TG165 Imaging IR Thermometer is more than suitable for use in detecting high temperatures in a human.

One of the smallest and lowest cost thermal imaging systems on the market, the TG165 is compact, discreet and responds quickly to changes in temperature. Retailing for just £399, this camera is perfect for use by all airport security professionals and health professionals trying to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.

The thermometer can measure temperature across a wide range of -25 to 380°C (14 to 716°F) and can easily detect average fever temperature conditions in a human (average conditions are around 37°C and above) with a high degree of accuracy. The TG165 can also be used up to 24 inches away from the measurement point, ensuring that the user remains safely isolated from the person being scanned.

Other thermal cameras, such as the FLIR E4, E5, E6 and E8 are also suited for scanning for elevated body temperature.