NY Travel Clinic

Ebola update for Sierra Leone and Guinea

The CDC is urging avoiding nonessential travel to Sierra Leone and Guinea because of ongoing Ebola outbreaks.

Ebola is a lethal viral disease that is spread by direct contact with infected fluids, objects, and wild meat.

There’s no vaccine against Ebola, so humanitarian aid workers who must travel to Guinea and Sierra Leone should practice precautions to prevent infection.  Be sure to have proper medical insurance before you go.

Wash your hands with soap, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.  Don’t touch a person with Ebola, and avoid contact with any bodily fluid from anyone.   Don’t touch objects that could be contaminated from an infected person.  Avoid touching dead bodies, and avoid funerals and burial rituals.

Avoid eating wild meat such as monkeys and bats, and avoid touching them in the wild.

Healthcare workers must wear double gloves, goggles or a face shield, and a medical mask.  Depending on the situation, a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) or an N95 Respirator should be used.  A waterproof coverall or gown, and waterproof boots must also be worn.  Practice the correct order of putting on this equipment before you go, and of removing them.  Isolate patients who are even suspected of having Ebola.

Ebola symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, unexplained bleeding or bruising, fever, severe headache, extreme fatigue, muscle pain, and stomach pain.Seek immediate help if you have these symptoms.  You should avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated.  Call the US Embassy in Freetown at (232) 76-515-000 for advice on the right treatment facility.Notify the US embassy or consulate in Sierra Leone if you might have been exposed to an Ebola patient but were not wearing protective equipment.

When you’re on the way home by flight and you have the above symptoms, truthfully answer Department of Homeland Security questions at the airport to prevent Ebola from spreading to the US.

If you must travel to Sierra Leone or Guinea, practice excellent hygiene, wear protective equipment, and avoid direct contact with any bodily fluid, and unprotected contact with suspected Ebola patients.