Hot Topics at EBACE2016: Zika Virus Session Planned for 25 May

21 May 2016

As the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero approach, and with Brazil frequently cited as a “hot zone” for the mosquito-borne Zika virus, business aircraft operators are understandably concerned.

“A lot of people are going to get anxious when going to Rio,” said Michael Braida, regional medical director, MedAire/International SOS in London. “However, if I were to do a risk approximation at this point, I think the downtown area is not going to be a problem.”

Hot Topics at EBACE2016: Zika Virus Session Planned for 25 May

Braida will be one of the subject experts presenting at an education session about the Zika virus at the 2016 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2016) on Wednesday, 25 May, from 10 to 11:45 a.m. in the EBACE Inspiration Zone located on the show’s exhibit floor.

One factor operators should take into consideration is is that the Summer Games take place during Brazil’s winter, when the mosquito population is reduced.

However, Brazil is not the only country impacted by the virus; there are more than 30 countries where Zika has now been identified, primarily in South America and Micronesia.

“Flying into these endemic areas for Zika, dengue, yellow fever and malaria, the risk is still going to be low for business aviation if you follow some simple rules: sensible long pants, long-sleeve shirts, repellents,” Braida noted.

The EBACE session will look at the Zika issue from both the operator and crew perspectives.

“For the operator flying an aircraft into these areas, are there any precautions necessary for their airplane, and for picking up passengers coming from that region? What should the operator and crew look out for?,” Braida said. “We’ll talk about how to disinfect the aircraft properly, and how to deal with a potential Zika patient on board.”

“It’s also very important to address the concerns of the crew members – they’re the ones, of course, who have potentially far greater exposure,” he added.

Braida is an internal medicine “intensivist,” specializing in patients with viral and bacterial infections. He has worked as an EMS helicopter physician since 1991, with more than 2,000 missions. A Canadian, he completed his medical degree at the University of Muenster, Germany, with additional postgraduate research in immunology.

For additional information about Zika, including new aircraft disinfection requirements for certain countries, see “Some Countries Requiring Mosquito Treatment for Business Aircraft in Wake of Zika Virus” on the NBAA website.

View the full EBACE2016 program schedule.