Travellers warned of increased Ebola risk

2014-07-28 08:50
The World Health Organisation says the latest outbreak of Ebola, that has killed more than 670 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone is most likely thedeadliest outbreak to date.

The Liberian government has closed most of the West African nation's border crossings and introduced stringent health measures to curb the spread of the deadly Ebola virus and Nigerian officials say they are screening passengers arriving from foreign countries for symptoms of Ebola, after a traveller from Liberia died of the contagious disease in Lagos.

An American aid worker Nancy Writebol and an American doctor Kent Brantly have also been infected at a West African hospital on the outskirts of the Liberian capital, Monrovia. They have since been isolated and are under intensive treatment.

Experts have expressed serious concern about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, saying the fight against the virus is compounded by the weak healthcare systems and porous borders within the region.

Here's what travellers need to know about the Ebola Virus as detailed by WHO

- Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

- EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.

- EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.

- The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. The disease is not spread through the air like the flu virus.

- Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.

- Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.

- Containing the virus is extremely important as a single case can quickly turn into an epidemic.

- Symptoms will develop about 21 days after infection and include fever, headache, muscle pain and weakness.

- Other symptoms may involve a rash, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Internal/external bleeding occurs in some cases, which can lead to shock and massive hemorrhage.

- Travellers heading to this area should keep abreast of where the affected areas  are and avoid direct contact with people who are sick.

- Administer strict hygiene conditions by regularly washing hands and avoiding contact with infected humans, if necessary were protective clothing and gloves.

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