Ebola cases are the leading topic on news programs throughout the country. We have a confirmed case in Dallas, Texas and suspected cases in DC, Virginia and Maryland. There are also reports that an NBC news cameraman has contracted the Ebola virus while on assignment and will be flown by medjet to Nebraska for treatment.
Traveling and Ebola is on everyone’s mind along with fear and concern. Here’s what we know:
Symptoms of the Ebola virus include:
- Fever (greater than 101.5°F)
- Muscle aches and/or severe headaches
- Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.
You cannot contract the Ebola virus from:
You can contract the Ebola virus from:
- Direct contact with blood, urine, feces, vomit and the saliva of a person who is sick or who has died from Ebola. Direct contact means the virus has to pass thru cuts, breaks in the skin or cross mucous membranes (i.e. gums or eyeballs).
- Touching contaminated objects like needles.
- Touching infecting animals, their blood, bodily fluids or their meat.
The big question is should we be worried when traveling especially by airplane. No, there are no risks. According to the CDC and health experts, the passengers on the flights with Thomas Eric Duncan (the Dallas, TX patient) are not at risk. US Airways however is taking steps to inform all passengers of the situation. For his fellow passengers to have been at risk, Mr. Duncan had to have been exhibiting symptoms of the disease during the flights. Passengers also would have had to come in direct contact with his bodily fluids.
With that said, the CDC and the State Department have issued ‘Level 3’ travel warnings (on 8/28/2014) advising US citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. A ‘Level 2’ alert has been issued for Nigeria to inform travelers of outbreaks in that country.
If you are going to travel to these countries, the CDC and the State Dept. strongly advise travelers to purchase travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage. Confirm with the insurance provider that it will cover medical evacuation due to Ebola Virus Disease before purchasing.
Be safe and happy travels!