Travel Advisory - Ebola outbreak in West Africa

23 March 2014
The Ministry of Health (MoH) of Guinea has notified WHO of a rapidly evolving outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in forested areas south eastern Guinea. As of 22 March 2014, a total of 49 cases including 29 deaths (case fatality ratio: 59%) had been reported. The cases have been reported in Guekedou, Macenta, Nzerekore and Kissidougou districts. In addition, three suspect cases including two deaths in Conakry are under investigation. Four health care workers are among the victims. Reports of suspected cases in border areas of Liberia and Sierra Leone are being investigated.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) of Guinea together with WHO and other partners have initiated measures to control the outbreak and prevent further spread. The MoH has also advised the public to take measures to avert the spread of the disease and to report any suspected cases.

WHO and other partners are mobilizing and deploying additional experts to provide support to the Guinean Government. The necessary supplies and logistics required for supportive management of patients and all aspects of outbreak control are also being mobilized.

The situation is rapidly evolving and reported figures are likely to change.

WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Guinea in respect to this event.

The prevention of Ebola HF presents many challenges. Because it is still unknown how exactly people are infected with Ebola HF, there are few established primary prevention measures.

Persons at high risk are those who have close contact with infected or deceased individuals. This includes Health Care Workers, family members, close contacts, and those persons who handled the remains.

Protective measures include:

  • Wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
  • The use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
  • Isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons.

The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid contact with the blood or secretions of an infected individual. If an individual with Ebola HF dies, it is equally important that direct contact with the body of the deceased be prevented.
At this point in time FAO Medical Services advises employees working in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to:

  • Avoid travel to specific locations where there are confirmed cases
  • If you are in the area and are ill with fever accompanied by vomiting and or bloody diarrhoea, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Wash hands frequently and maintain a clean and hygienic environment
  • Avoid contact or consuming animal game
  • Avoid crowded events and funerals.
  • Stay informed. Be aware of recommendations made by the local health authorities.