EBOLA in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Ebola fever is a deadly disease that causes outbreaks in several African countries. It is spread by direct contact with blood or body fluids of a person infected with Ebola virus. 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.

An outbreak of Ebola is occurring in the North Kivu (Kivu Nord) and Ituri provinces of the DRC, including the cities of Beni and Butembo. The provinces have been experiencing a prolonged humanitarian crisis and deteriorating security situation, which is limiting public health efforts to respond to this outbreak.
The risk to most travelers to DRC is low, with potential increased risk to those travelers going in or near the outbreak area and inadvertently coming in close contact with person infected with Ebola.

What can travelers do to protect themselves?
There is no FDA-approved or widely available vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola, and many people who get the disease die. Therefore, it is important to take steps to prevent Ebola:

  • Avoid contact with other people’s blood or body fluids. Do not handle items that may have come in contact with a person’s blood or body fluids (such as clothes, bedding, needles, or medical equipment).
  • Avoid contact with wild animals and bushmeat.
  • Avoid participating in burial rituals that require handling a dead body.
  • Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, tell the doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Advance notice will help the doctor care for you and protect other people who may be in the office or hospital.

Travelers who may have been exposed to Ebola or who become sick during travel should postpone further travel and get immediate medical attention. Any person with possible exposure or Ebola-like symptoms will not be allowed to travel unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation.

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