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Ebola Risks Involved With Travel

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Is Travel Safe During Ebola Outbreak?

First discovered in 1976 in the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ebola virus can be found across Africa, where outbreaks have occurred sporadically throughout the continent. Travelers may be relieved once they know more about Ebola and the outbreak. They might also be put at ease to know that some companies provide travel insurance for American citizens, protecting them if they become infected while traveling abroad.

A Deadly Virus

Ebola is a deadly, rare disease that spreads through direct contact with contaminated objects, infected animals such as primates and bats, and the bodily fluids or blood of infected patients. Those who are vulnerable to Ebola may be friends, family and health-care professionals. Symptoms of the virus include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

Ebola in West Africa

The Ebola outbreak started in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in March 2014. This is the largest and most complex outbreak of the virus in history, and there have been reports of civil violence and unrest toward health-care workers as a result. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans avoid all travel to these countries to help control and prevent the spread of the virus. For humanitarian aid workers and similar individuals who have to travel to West Africa, the CDC recommends following its advice for preventing infection.

Preventing Ebola

While the best way to prevent infection is to avoid traveling to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the CDC advises travelers to check their health insurance to determine whether they are covered in the event that they do become infected, including coverage for emergency evacuation. They should also avoid contact with bodily fluids and blood, potentially contaminated objects, animals, or raw and undercooked meat. Travelers also need to practice careful hygiene such as frequently washing their hands with water and soap or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. If they come down with a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or other Ebola symptoms, they should immediately seek medical attention.

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