Hearing about Ebola in the media can make travelling a daunting task, particularly if you need to visit areas that have been severely affected by the disease, here are some things that you need to know before you travel.
The best and easiest form of prevention when considering travelling and Ebola is to avoid the areas that have been affected the most by the disease, the most recent outbreak of the disease occurred in West Africa, but it was particularly severe in countries like Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Although this is certainly one of the best ways, travelling is a part of a lot of people’s live, whether it is for business or leisure purposes and cannot necessarily be avoided.
Tips for preventing the Ebola virus
Some general tips for travellers to help prevent contracting Ebola in high risk areas are:
- Wash hands thoroughly and frequently using soap and water, if this is not available then alcohol based gels or wipes can be used, doing this kills the virus
- Avoid people that are suspected of having Ebola
- Make sure that meat is prepared and cooked properly before consuming, vegetables and fruit should also be washed before eating.
- Avoid handling or eating dead animals, as a number of cases of Ebola have been caused by eating “bush meat”
The best thing that you can do when travelling to or near a high risk area is to be aware of the symptoms of the disease and also how it is possible to contract it.
In the early stages of the disease the most common symptoms are headaches, fevers and weak muscles. These symptoms may not sound like much, but it is important to diagnose the disease as soon as possible, as Ebola has about a 50% fatality rate and there is no definitive treatment or vaccine currently available. The symptoms are also similar to other ailments like influenza or malaria and can often get confused.
The disease is generally spread by direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person or animal, it is not passed through water or by coughing or sneezing as the disease is not known to be airborne.
If ever you are unsure or have any health concerns then seek medical assistance immediately, there are also organisations that are helping to assist those affected by Ebola and you can donate to UNICEF’s Ebola appeal or another charity.