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Ebola in Sierra Leone

Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

Updated: July 28, 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 the Bo, Kailahun, and Kenema Districts.  For more information, visit Outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone on the CDC Ebola website.

CDC recommends that travelers to Sierra Leone protect themselves by avoiding contact with the blood and body fluids of people who are ill with Ebola.

What is Ebola?

Ebola virus disease 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 virus disease are seen sporadically throughout Africa. Travelers could be infected if they come into contact with blood or body fluids from someone who is sick or has died from Ebola, sick wildlife, or meat from an infected animal. Health care providers caring for Ebola patients and family and friends in close contact with an ill person are at highest risk because they may come into contact with blood or body fluids.

What can travelers do to prevent Ebola?

There is no vaccine for Ebola and no specific treatment. 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 funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Avoid contact with animals or with raw meat.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The US Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities that are suitable for your needs. The US Embassy in Freetown can be reached at +(232) (76) 515-000.
  • Seek medical care if you develop fever, headache, achiness, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, rash, or red eyes.

Special Recommendation for Health Care Workers

  • 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.
    • Notify health officials if you have been exposed to someone with Ebola.

Traveler Information

Clinician Information

Information for Airline Personnel

 
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