Ebola Travel Health and Safety Advice You Can Use By Intelligent Travel


If you travel, live overseas or manage either of these types of employees, then you need to watch this video. In this short educational video on Ebola, we give you professional travel health and safety advice you can use or share with your business. Topics covered include travel risk, how Ebola is spread, prevention measures and advice on whether you should travel or not. By the end of the video, you should have enough information for yourself and or the people you manage. Firstly, it’s important for everyone to understand that the majority of travelers and expatriates have a low risk of contracting the Ebola virus disease. The more you understand about the virus, the more you will come to understand that by taking a few simple personal health measures, your chances of contracting Ebola remain very low. Listen carefully while we explain why that is. The Ebola virus is only spread through human-to-human transmission, that is via direct contact with an infected person via blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and via surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids. Those people in direct contact with infected Ebola patients such as healthcare and aid workers, family members nursing infected people, and those handling or touching the body of a deceased person are at high risk as a result. Ebola is not spread or transmitted through the air, via mosquitos or via general, non-contact proximity to other people. The Ebola virus requires direct human-to-human contact with an infected person or their body fluids such as vomit, diarrhea and blood. If you then touch your mouth, nose or eyes you can introduce the Ebola virus into your own body. The Ebola virus has an incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums or blood in the stools). There is no publicly available vaccine for Ebola as yet. There is no specific medical treatment, however early early medical attention is essential to improve the chances of survival. Outbreaks of Ebola have been occurring in Africa over the past 40 years.The current outbreak is the largest ever to date and it kills on average 50% of those infected.Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks. The Ebola outbreaks occurs predominantly in Africa. The reasons for this are that African fruit bats are thought to be natural hosts for the virus, which in turn has spread to other wild animals. Secondly, due to the way the Ebola virus is spread, developing countries with less comprehensive medical infrastructure, high population density and poor sanitation are at greater risk. The most effective way to manage or stop an Ebola outbreak is to identify and separate people that have or may develop the Ebola virus and treat them directly. This way the do not infect others and the virus or epidemic is contained. This remains difficult to consistently put into practice in affected African countries. For that reason, many government authorities now advise to cancel all travel to significantly affected countries, unless absolutely necessary. As a result, many business and leisure systems within affected countries have stopped completely, or are operating at greatly reduced capacity. 

Even if you do travel to significantly affected areas, there is far less business or leisure activity taking place at present, as a result of the Ebola virus outbreak. If you must travel to Ebola affected countries or locations, you must consider the following:

  • Local authorities are conducting health screening of all inbound and outbound travellers.
  • This screening is causing significant changes and delays to routine travel.
  • In some areas, all travel, even across borders, is restricted or suspended for now.
  • Many other airports and local authorities are conducting health screening now too.
  • This means that many parts of the world, especially key transit locations, are experiencing delays and changes as they try to prevent the spread of Ebola in their own cities or country.
  • Suspected, sick, false results and fear mean that people that don’t even have Ebola are being screened, delayed and even quarantined for as little as a few hours to as long as a few weeks.
  • If you’re sick, from the flu, a cold or just unwell, you could be mistaken for an infected Ebola sufferer or at least treated like one.
  • Even the people you travel with can trigger restrictions or quarantine, with entire aircraft or hotels susceptible to quarantine measures for all.
  • High temperature, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and general appearance of being unwell could all result in enhanced screening or quarantine at any point in your journey.
  • A sharp rise in Ebola cases, suspected cases and those seeking preventative treatment have overwhelmed many of the already poorly resourced hospitals and medical clinics in Ebola affected countries.
  • There are still many other viruses and diseases that can cause serious illness or death that you may be exposed to while travelling.
  • Vaccinations and medical precautions are not available or 100% effective for all other known viruses and diseases encountered while travelling.
  • Evacuation from and affected Ebola country if you contract the virus is also unlikely, if not impossible.

Now that you understand the facts about the Ebola virus and how it is spread, use these simple yet effective steps to prevent infection:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Carry hand sanitizer and use it frequently
  • Do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes
  • Avoid hospitals and medical clinics where Ebola patients may be or have been present
  • Avoid personal homes and hotels where people are or have been sick
  • Don’t touch or handle deceased Ebola people

If you get sick and you have not had direct exposure to an Ebola patient, it is very unlikely you will have Ebola, as you now understand. There are many other causes of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Some can be serious and life threatening also, such as Malaria. Get prompt medical attention if required or in doubt. Get support when possible. Because of the significant impact and change the Ebola outbreaks are having in travel, ensure you do the following before travelling:

  • Ensure you have had all your routine medical and dental checks or care before you travel
  • Take enough medication for your entire trip
  • Confirm your travel plans or flights. There may be recent changes or updates
  • Check the requirements for entry and departure into each country you are visiting.
  • Take a personal first aid kit.
  • Stay informed and up to date for your specific trip and travel destination.

Intelligent Travel clients and customers have full access to our professional online, chat and on-call travel health, safety, security and risk management support as required.After your trip, monitor your health for 21 days. If you become sick, limit contact with other people, seek medical attention, and always mention your recent travel. If you travel, live overseas or manage either of these types of employees, then you should now know the essential facts about the Ebola virus. In this short educational video on Ebola, you received professional travel health and safety advice you can use or share with your business. Topics covered included travel risk, how Ebola is spread, prevention measures and advice on whether you should travel or not. – See more at Intelligent Travel.

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About Tony Ridley
Travel health, safety, security and risk management expert.

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