Ebola in West Africa: latest developments

As the total number of suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola nears 2,500 with almost 1,400 deaths, there are no signs that the disease is coming under control in the four affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone). Now, there are reports that there may be cases in Boende in Equateur province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where several people died from an illness with Ebola-like symptoms. Because this municipality is far removed from the areas of the current outbreak, it may be an independent second outbreak if Ebola is confirmed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the following facts:

  • The majority of Ebola cases are a result of transmission of the virus during home care of sick people, in some clinical settings, and in burial rituals without appropriate infection prevention and control measures. The general traveller is at very low risk since they are unlikely to encounter these conditions.
  • Ebola is not an airborne disease.
  • Individuals may become infected as a result of contact with the bodily fluids (vomit, diarrhoea, sputum, blood, etc.) from persons who are confirmed to have Ebola or who have died from this infection.
  • There is no need for any travel or trade restrictions, except in instances where individuals have been confirmed or are suspected of being infected with the virus or where individuals have had contact with cases of Ebola.
  • As of today, no cases of Ebola have been confirmed outside Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, or Sierra Leone.
  • The risk of any transmission of this virus on an airplane is very low.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Ebola Viral Disease.

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