The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been widely covered in the news media and concern is high among companies and travelers doing business in affected areas. According to the New York Times, the outbreak has reached countries including Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea and Senegal. There have also been Ebola cases reported in the United States.
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This post will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
Traveling to and from West Africa
Update (10/21/14): Travel Restrictions Announced for Passengers with Travel Originating in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced today that additional measures will be implemented in order to avoid the spread of the Ebola virus in the United States. All travelers arriving in the U.S. whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leon or Guinea will be required to arrive into the U.S. via one of five airports that have enhanced screening.
The five U.S. airports with additional resources for enhanced screening are:
- New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport
- New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport
- Washington Dulles International Airport
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
- Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport
The CDC issued a Watch Level 3 warning for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. This warning means that passengers should avoid nonessential travel to these three countries. A Watch Level 2 warning was issued for Nigeria as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, and means that travelers should practice enhanced precautions when visiting these two countries.
Ebola in the US
Despite being centered in West Africa, some are worried of the danger that it may pose to those living in the U.S. Several people who contracted Ebola in West Africa have been brought to the US under quarantine to be treated for the disease.
According to the New York Times, US health officials are using a tactic called contact tracing to identify anyone who could have potentially been exposed to the infected patient and then watch them for Ebola symptoms over the course of three weeks. Anyone with symptoms is then tested for the disease, quarantined and treated. This process repeats and continues until no symptoms are found in those potentially exposed.
In addition, CNN reports that screening may begin taking place at major US airports soon. Doctors throughout the US are reminded to check the travel history of patients that have symptoms that may correspond with Ebola.
The following infographic from the CDC provides some facts about Ebola and how it is and isn’t transmitted:
Additional Resources for Travelers and Companies regarding the Ebola Global Outbreak
Travel and Transport partners with iJET to provide up-to-the-minute global travel alerts and information to our clients. The following are a series of videos produced by iJET with information on the Ebola global crisis. Each video is 5-10 minutes in length and can be downloaded for free from the iJET University website. Registration on the site is required.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a viral illness that is spread when an individual comes into direct contact with the blood, urine, vomit or other bodily fluids of an infected person. People can also contract the Ebola virus by coming into direct contact with infected fruit bats, gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and their meat. Contaminated objects such as needles and soiled clothing and bed linen can also cause one to contract Ebola.
The illness can not be transmitted by coughing or sneezing, so by avoiding direct contact and travel to this part of the world, the spread of Ebola can be minimized.
Symptoms of Ebola include the following:
- Muscle pain
- Stomach pain
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising
It’s important to know that it can take up to three weeks after the initial infection for the symptoms of Ebola to appear. There are currently vaccines that are being developed to treat the illness, but it could take two months for them to be available.
Medical personnel in West Africa have tried to use antiviral medicines to treat those who have Ebola, but have not seen effective results. Those who have recently traveled to West Africa, whether on business travel or vacation, should see a doctor even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms similar to those of Ebola.
- World Health Organization – Ebola FAQs
- The White House Blog – News on the US response to the Ebola Crisis
Travel and Transport will continue to follow this global crisis and will provide updates and new information as it becomes available.