Are thermal cameras the key to halting Africa’s Ebola spread?


Ebola is a hot topic in Africa and the world. Since being detected in March this year, the incurable virus has been confirmed in four African countries namely Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, and has killed 1 603 people so far, according to red24.

Some of the haemorrhagic fever’s symptoms include fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, diarrhoea, and fever. The last of these could help identify the infected carrying the contagious disease through the use of thermal cameras.

Regional Business Development Manager for Axis Communications Roy Alves notes that the heat-detecting camera technology should not be looked over as a critical tool in the fight against the disease.

“Since thermal cameras look at people’s heat signatures, they are able to detect whether someone has a fever. This can be used to alert the authorities to someone who may have been infected with the Ebola virus at crucial junctures like airports, bus stations, and border crossings,” says Alves.

The same way CCTV cameras are widely being used as a critical tool in crime prevention, thermal cameras are said to help detect and then prevent the spread of the disease.

Furthermore, CCTV equipment is limited when it comes to weather conditions. When it comes to thermal imaging, heat signatures can be picked up though heavy fog, dust, excessive glare from the sun, or thick vegetation in the area being surveyed. This means that the technology could also be used to help anti-poaching initiatives track.



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