What Travelers Need to Know About Ebola Virus

What is ebola virus? How is it transmitted, and how do I protect myself? Find out everything you need to know before you travel to a region that is experiencing an outbreak.

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Ebola Virus Photo © Getty Images/Konoplytska

How Ebola 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 by Ebola

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. Since the outbreak was reported in August 2018, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 2,200 people, and there have been 3,300 confirmed infections.

Vaccination from Ebola

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

Duration

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

Symptoms of Ebola

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.

Treatment of Ebola

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.

Prevention of Ebola

  • 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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