Ebola has been exported from the three main affected countries in West Africa to five other countries (Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, the USA and Mali). As long as case numbers in West Africa continue to grow exponentially, more exported cases can be expected.
- In less developed countries, whether in Africa or elsewhere, the weakness of health facilities and public health mean that imported cases pose a real risk of starting an epidemic.
- In developed countries, it is likely that health facilities will diagnose an Ebola patient relatively quickly and public health authorities will undertake rigorous contact tracing, thereby avoiding a widespread outbreak. Outbreaks were contained in this way in Nigeria and the United States.
How do you protect yourself against Ebola?
If you must travel to an area affected by the 2014 Ebola outbreak:
- Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid contact with the blood and body fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.
- Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
- Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
- Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates (apes and monkeys) or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
- Avoid facilities in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on medical facilities.
- Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility.