What travelers should know about Ebola

August 15, 2014 |

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has garnered a lot of international attention in recent weeks, especially since the two Americans who contracted the illness were brought to the U.S. for medical treatment.

The outbreak began in Guinea in early 2014 and has since made its way to Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Thus far, the virus has taken the lives of more than 1,000 people. According to Travel + Leisure, the World Health Organization deemed the outbreak "a public health emergency of international concern."

Although the Department of State has not issued travel bans to this part of the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently began discouraging travelers from heading to the affected countries unless absolutely necessary.

Some airlines have even discontinued flights to these countries including British Airways and Emirates. 

What to know about Ebola

Ebola was first discovered in 1976. The virus causes fever as well as damage to the body's internal organs. There's currently no vaccine or drug that can prevent or treat the illness, although a drug, known as ZMapp, was given to the Americans who contracted it and officials have said it it working.

Travelers heading to an international destinations shouldn't fear that they will catch the illness by being in the same room as someone who may be showing symptoms of Ebola. The virus is only transmitted via bodily fluids, so family members and health care workers who come into contact with the infected are at the highest risk. Simply being on plane won't cause travelers to develop it since it isn't airborne.

According to Medical Xpress, people in the U.S. shouldn't be too concerned about contracting Ebola because of the country's advanced technology and dramatically better living conditions than what is seen in West Africa.

Those considering global travel to this part of the world should keep the outbreak in mind before solidifying any plans.