Via ScienceInsider, a report by Martin Enserink: Ebola researchers still welcome at European infectious diseases meetings. Excerpt:
As ScienceInsider reported yesterday, the state of Louisiana has told researchers to stay away from the world's biggest tropical medicine meeting next week if they have been in contact with Ebola patients in the past 21 days—or even if they've just visited Liberia, Guinea, or Sierra Leone, the three nations where the epidemic is raging. Many scientists object to the policy; the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), which organizes the event, disagrees but accepts Louisiana's decision, says incoming president Christopher Plowe.
But Ebola is a hot topic at many special sessions and late breakers these days. Are scientists who may have been exposed to the virus still welcome at other infectious diseases meetings? Here's a quick sample.
People returning from West Africa are definitely expected, and are welcome, at the European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, held next week in Stockholm. Sweden currently does not have travel restrictions for people coming from affected countries, says a representative for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which organizes the event.
As it happens, ECDC itself recently issued a technical note with recommendations for organizers of gatherings in the European Union where people exposed to Ebola may show up. The document doesn't recommend barring healthy people but says meeting organizers should make a risk analysis, connect with local health authorities, and prepare for possible Ebola cases.
ECDC is abiding by its own advice: At the Stockholm meeting, "all participants will receive an information sheet with advice on what to do if they have been exposed to Ebola within the past 21 days and develop symptoms during the conference; a dedicated room has been identified for isolation purposes," the representative writes in an e-mail to ScienceInsider. "The Swedish health helpline is also provided on the information sheet."
Travel restrictions won't be a problem either at the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance (IMED), which starts in Vienna tomorrow. Austrian authorities have not put any travel restrictions in place; the country's health minister, Sabine Oberhauser, will open the conference, so the government is definitely aware of the issue, says Larry Madoff, a staffer of the Boston area–based International Society for Infectious Diseases, which organizes IMED.