What is Ebola?
Ebola is a rare and deadly disease. The disease is caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus species (Zaire, Sudan, Bundibugyo, or Tai Forest virus). Ebola is spread by direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth)
with the blood or body fluids (such as urine, saliva, sweat, faeces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola;
with objects (like needles and syringes) contaminated with body fluids of a person sick with Ebola or who has died of Ebola;
with infected fruit bats and primates (apes and monkeys); and
possibly with semen from a man who has recovered from Ebola (for example, contact during oral, vaginal, or anal sex).
Signs of Ebola include fever and symptoms such as severe headache, fatigue (feeling very tired), muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
Who is at risk?
How can I be exposed to Ebola?
You can be exposed to the Ebola virus if you have contact with blood or body fluids (such as urine, saliva, sweat, faeces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person sick with Ebola without wearing the right protective clothing and equipment. For healthcare workers, this includes wearing a face shield or goggles, a medical mask, double gloves, a waterproof gown or coveralls, an apron, and waterproof boots.
This kind of exposure can happen if you —
Are stuck with a needle or splashed in the eye, nose, or mouth with blood or body fluids of someone sick with Ebola.
Handle blood or body fluids of a sick Ebola patient.
Touch a person who is sick with Ebola.
Touch the body of someone who died from Ebola.
Care for or live with a person who is sick with Ebola.
Spend a long amount of time within 3 feet (1 meter) of a person who is sick with Ebola.
Travellers could be infected if they come into contact with blood or body fluids from someone who is sick or has died from Ebola. Healthcare workers and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids.
People also can become sick with Ebola if they come into contact with infected wildlife or raw or undercooked bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) from an infected animal.
Ebola virus has been found in the semen of some men who have recovered from Ebola. It is possible that Ebola could be spread through sex. The risk of getting Ebola from semen is considered to be very low and likely decreases over time. CDC and other public health partners are continuing to study how Ebola is spread, and will share what is known as it becomes available.
What can travellers do to prevent Ebola?
There is no approved vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola, and many people who get the disease die. Therefore, it is important to take steps to prevent Ebola.
Avoid nonessential travel to Guinea and Sierra Leone.
If you must travel, please make sure to do the following:
Before your trip, check your health insurance plan to learn what is covered in the event that you become sick. CDC recommends that anyone travelling to Sierra Leone have full coverage, including coverage for emergency medical evacuation.
Information about medical evacuation services can be found on the US Department of State’s website on the Air Ambulance/Medevac/Medical Escort Providers page.
Some insurance providers are excluding medical evacuation coverage for people who have Ebola. Check with providers to ensure you have the coverage you need.
Be sure to check the coverage limits for evacuation insurance. Also check to see if the policy covers evacuation to the United States or to the nearest location where adequate medical care is offered.
Practice careful hygiene. For example, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid contact with blood and body fluids (such as urine, saliva, sweat, faeces, vomit, breast milk, and semen).
Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
Avoid contact with dead bodies, including participating in funeral or burial rituals.
Until more information is known about sexual transmission, avoid contact with the semen of a man who has recovered from Ebola (for example, during oral, vaginal, or anal sex). If you do have sex, use a condom the right way every time. Consider bringing your own supply of condoms.
Avoid contact with animals (such as bats or monkeys) or with raw or undercooked meat.
Do not eat or handle bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food).
Avoid hospitals in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The US Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities that are suitable for your needs. The US Embassy in Freetown can be reached at +(232) 76-515-000.
Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (100.4°F / 38°C or above) or other symptoms such as severe headache, fatigue (feeling very tired), muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
Limit your contact with other people when you travel to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else.
Communicated by: CDCLeave a reply →