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Ebola in Nigeria

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

Updated: October 15, 2014

The purpose of this travel notice is to notify travelers that a small number of Ebola cases were recently reported in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The government of Nigeria responded quickly, and this outbreak was contained to a small number of cases. Contacts of people who were infected with Ebola in Nigeria have also been monitored for signs of illness. All people in Nigeria who were sick with Ebola have now either died or recovered. Contacts of these patients have completed their 21-day monitoring period and are no longer at risk for getting sick with Ebola.

CDC is moving this notice from Level 2, Alert to Level 1, Watch because of the decreased risk of Ebola in Nigeria. If no further cases of Ebola are reported in Nigeria, CDC will remove this travel notice.

What is the current situation?

On July 25, 2014, the Nigerian Ministry of Health confirmed that a man in Lagos, Nigeria, died from Ebola. The man had been in a Lagos hospital since arriving at the Lagos airport from Liberia. A small number of Ebola cases linked to this patient were reported in Lagos and Port Harcourt, but all the people in Nigeria who were sick with Ebola have now either died or recovered from the disease. The Nigerian government also monitored the health of people who had come in contact with Ebola patients in the country. As of September 26, 2014, these people have all completed their 21-day monitoring period and are no longer at risk for getting sick with Ebola.

The recent outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria is related to an ongoing Ebola outbreak that has been occurring in West Africa since March 2014. This outbreak is occurring in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and is the largest outbreak of Ebola in history.

For more information about the ongoing outbreak in West Africa, visit 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa on the CDC Ebola website.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a rare and deadly disease. The disease is caused by infection with one of the ebolaviruses (Ebola, Sudan, Bundibugyo, or Taï Forest virus). It is spread by direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with a sick person’s blood or body fluids (urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen). It is also spread by direct contact with objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with the infected body fluids or infected animals.

Symptoms of Ebola include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.

Who is at risk?

Travelers could be infected if they come into contact with blood or body fluids from someone who is sick or has died from Ebola. People also can become sick with Ebola if they come into contact with infected wildlife or raw or undercooked meat (bushmeat) from an infected animal. Health care workers and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids.

What can travelers do to prevent Ebola?

The Ebola outbreak in Nigeria is believed to be over. With no cases of Ebola in Nigeria, the risk to travelers is very low. However, because of the recent outbreak and the ongoing outbreak in other parts of West Africa, travelers are encouraged to take steps to prevent Ebola during their trips.

  • Monitor local news for reports of new cases of Ebola in Nigeria.
  • Practice careful hygiene. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with blood or body fluids.
  • Avoid direct contact with the body of someone who has died from Ebola, including participating in funeral and burial rituals.
  • Avoid contact with animals (such as bats or monkeys) or with raw or undercooked meat.
  • Do not eat or handle bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food).
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (100.4°F / 38°C or higher) or other symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
    • The US Embassy or Consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities that are suitable for your needs. The US Embassy in Abuja can be reached at +(234) 9-461-4000. The US Consulate in Lagos can be reached at +(234) 1-460-3400.Limit your contact with other people when you travel to the doctor; avoid public transportation. Do not travel anywhere except to the doctor's office or hospital.

Returning Home

Travelers are being screened at airports in Nigeria to look for signs of Ebola and to find out if people have been exposed to Ebola, even if they are not sick. Those who have been exposed to Ebola or are sick with symptoms of Ebola will not be allowed to travel on commercial flights to the United States and potentially to other countries.

  • You should be prepared for screeners to check your temperature and look for signs and symptoms of illness. You will also be asked to answer questions about possible exposures to someone with Ebola.  

After the screening, authorities will decide if and when you can continue your trip.

  • If you have symptoms of Ebola or have been exposed to Ebola -- even if you are not sick – you will not be allowed to travel on commercial planes, buses, trains, or ships.
  • If you have symptoms of Ebola, you may need to be medically evacuated to receive needed care.
  • If you have been exposed to Ebola but are not sick, you will either have to arrange a charter flight home or stay in Nigeria for at least 21 days until authorities ensure it is safe for you to travel.

See Interim Guidance for Monitoring and Movement of Persons with Ebola Virus Disease Exposure to learn more about traveling if you have been exposed to Ebola.

After Your Return to the United States

Pay attention to your health after you return. If you get sick with symptoms of Ebola (fever, severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising), seek medical care immediately.

  • Tell the doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms before you go to the doctor's office or hospital. Advance notice will help the doctor care for you and protect other people who may be in the doctor's office or hospital.
  • Limit you contact with other people when you travel to the doctor; avoid public transportation.
  • Do not travel anywhere except to the doctor's office or hospital.

Special Recommendation for Health Care Workers

The Ebola outbreak in Nigeria is believed to be over, but the outbreak continues in West Africa. Because of the possibility that additional cases of Ebola could be imported into Nigeria, refer to the World Health Organization’s Infection prevention and control guidance for care of patients in health-care settings, with focus on Ebola document and familiarize yourself with recommendations for protecting yourself and others when caring for Ebola patients.

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