Alexandria company helps fight deadly Ebola virus
Carrying a deadly virus?
Infrared camera could help others know who’s ill
A company with an Alexandria connection is part of a global effort to limit the spread of deadly viruses like Ebola.
Gary Strahan of Alexandria is CEO of Infrared Cameras Inc., which developed a thermal imaging system used in places such as airports to spot someone with a fever — a potentially infected person — before that person is allowed to spread an infection globally.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is making headlines around the world. As of Wednesday, there were 1,711 suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola originating in West Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Early symptoms of the Ebola virus include sudden onset of fever.
ICI’s camera registers the skin surface temperature of any part of the body.
Then, software provides visualization and reports to be used with clinical procedures to help diagnose a person’s condition.
Thermal imaging cameras and software have become standard screening practices for many airports worldwide, according to ICI.
Strahan was interviewed live Monday on CNN about ICI’s infrared and thermal imaging cameras in relation to detecting people who may have a fever.
“The human body emits copious amounts of infrared light, and so the cameras actually see that light that’s given off or emitted, and it hits the sensor in the camera and actually is converted into a temperature measurement,” he explained during the CNN interview.
He went on to explain that in an airport screening, once a person is identified as having a fever, the person would be quarantined and likely given a blood test.
“The only way the Ebola virus can be detected is by a blood test,” Strahan said on CNN.
He added that a person’s temperature can be quantified with the ICI software, but it is the person’s skin surface temperature — not core temperature — that’s detected and measured.
Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public, according to the CDC.
ICI designs manufactures and sells thermal imaging cameras for a variety of applications, including electrical, mechanical, medical, surveillance, firefighting and maritime.
The company’s customers include NASA, the U.S. Army, Marathon Oil, 3M, Honeywell, Boeing and General Electric.
ICI has its headquarters in Beaumont, Texas, with satellite offices in Michigan, Missouri and Alexandria.
Strahan has been CEO since March 1995.