Travel Health: Ebola Virus

What is ebola? What are the symptoms and how can it be treated? What you need to know before you travel.


Ebola Virus Photo © GettyImages/Konoplytska

How it Spreads

Ebola is less infectious than the common cold and the circumstances where you get infected require very close contact with a sufferer. The virus is transmitted via blood, body fluids, infected animals (fruit bats and primates) and contaminated medical equipment e.g needles.

Regions Affected

Central and western Africa are the only two regions where ebola has been identified and present. North Kivu province in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the grip of another Ebola outbreak. Reported in August 2018, the virus has claimed the lives of over 500 people.


Those in locations affected by ebola outbreaks have been administered with a vaccination. 


Symptoms start to appear within 2 to ­21 days of infection, usually around 8­ to 10 days after exposure. 


Infected persons may experience: high fever (over 101.5°F/38.6°C), headache, muscular pain, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, unexplained hemorrhaging and hematoma (bruising). Long-term complications with joints and vision can occur in some patients.


It's vital that if you feel unwell, seek medical assistance immediately as there is currently no cure available and ebola shares similar symptoms with other diseases found in Africa. Early detection and treatment will improve a patient's chance of surviving the disease. Medical treatment includes oxygen, hydration and pain management.


  • Stay away from any affected region, but be sensible about it. Keep some perspective in terms of number of cases vs population of the country you are traveling to as other parts of the country may be disease free
  • Avoid eating bush meat in locations known to have ebola virus infections
  • Avoid touching dead animals
  • Practise good personal hygiene while traveling.

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