The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated travel notices for the three West African countries currently experiencing the ever growing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak that has sickened some 1,200 and killed about 670 people to date.

The CDC recommends that travelers to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia protect themselves by avoiding contact with the blood and body fluids of people who are ill with Ebola.

Travelers could be infected if they come into contact with blood or body fluids from someone who is sick or has died from Ebola, sick wildlife, or meat from an infected animal. Health care providers caring for Ebola patients and family and friends in close contact with an ill person are at highest risk because they may come into contact with blood or body fluids.

What can travelers do to prevent Ebola?

There is no vaccine for Ebola and no specific treatment. It is important to take steps to prevent Ebola.

  • Practice careful hygiene. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of severely ill people. Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
  • Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Avoid contact with animals or with raw meat.
  • Avoid hospitals 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.
  • Seek medical care if you develop fever, headache, achiness, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, rash, or red eyes.

Special Recommendation for Health Care Workers

  • Health care workers who may be exposed to people with the disease should follow these steps:
    • Wear protective clothing, including masks, gloves, gowns, and eye protection.
    • Practice proper infection control and sterilization measures. For more information, see “Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers in the African Health Care Setting.”
    • Isolate Ebola patients from unprotected people.
    • Avoid direct contact with the bodies of people who died from Ebola.
    • Notify health officials if you have been exposed to someone with Ebola.

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Ebola virus
Ebola fever picture/CDC