Ebola in Sierra Leone
|Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel|
|Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions|
|Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions|
Updated: June 19, 2014
What is the current situation?
As of May 27, 2014, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health reported confirmed cases and several deaths from Ebola in Kailahun District, Sierra Leone. The district is located in the eastern region of the country, near the borders with Guinea and Liberia. Guinea and Liberia have also reported cases of Ebola. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/index.html.
CDC recommends that travelers to Sierra Leone avoid contact with blood and body fluids of infected people to protect themselves.
What is Ebola?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a rare and deadly disease. The disease is native to several African countries and is caused by infection with one of the ebolaviruses (Ebola, Sudan, Bundibugyo, or Taï Forest virus). It is spread by direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids. It is also spread by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals.
Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Skin rash, red eyes, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.
Who is at risk?
Cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever are seen sporadically throughout Africa. The risk to most travelers is low, but travelers could be infected if they come into contact with an ill person’s blood or body fluids, sick wildlife, or infected bushmeat. Health care providers and family and friends of an ill person are at highest risk.
What can travelers do to prevent Ebola?
There is no vaccine for Ebola and no specific treatment. Although travelers are at low risk for the disease, it is important to take steps to prevent Ebola.
- Practice careful hygiene. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of severely ill people. Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
- Avoid contact with animals.
- Seek medical care if you develop fever, headache, achiness, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, rash, or red eyes.
- Health care workers who may be exposed to people with the disease should follow these steps:
- Wear protective clothing, including masks, gloves, gowns, and eye protection.
- Practice proper infection control and sterilization measures. For more information, see “Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers in the African Health Care Setting.”
- Isolate Ebola patients from unprotected people.
- Avoid direct contact with the bodies of people who died from Ebola.
- CDC Ebola factsheet
- CDC Ebola website
- People Working and Living Abroad
- US Embassy Security Message: Update on Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
- Health Information for Travelers to Sierra Leone
- CDC Ebola website
- Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers in CDC Health Information for International Travelers 2014 - "Yellow Book"
- Health Information for Travelers to Sierra Leone—Clinician View