Travel Alerts

Unknown Ebola Risk Discussed in Tanzania

Tanzania Travel Advisories issued by the US State Department and the UK government
cows on a beach in tanzania
Africa (Vax Before Travel)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update to the United Republic of Tanzania Travel Alert page on September 27, 2019, regarding the ‘unexplained death of a person from probable Ebola virus disease in the city of Dar es Salaam.’

Dar es Salaam is a major commercial port located on Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast, with a population exceeding 4.3 million residents.

The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) were made aware of this person on September 10, 2019, who reportedly traveled around Tanzania while ill, including the cities of Songea, Njombe, and Mbeya.

The CDC says ‘it is working closely with international public health partners, including the Tanzania Ministry of Health, to monitor the situation and will provide updates as needed.’

The ongoing risks from this event are unknown, but at this time and based on the available information (which is incomplete), no travel restrictions to Tanzania are indicated by the CDC.

This CDC update is important news since over 1 million people visit Tanzania annually, and the tourism sector generates about 12 percent (1m jobs) of the country’s total employment.

But, the US Department of State and the UK Foreign Travel Office (FOC) issued enhanced Travel Advisories on September 27, 2019.

These new advisories say ‘visitors to Tanzania should be aware that in August 2018, an outbreak of Ebola Zaire Virus disease was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).’

Ebola Zaire is a rare and deadly disease in people and nonhuman primates. People can get Ebola through direct contact with an infected animal or a sick or dead person infected with the virus.

To date, it has claimed more than 2,126 lives in DRC, with additional fatalities continuing to be reported.

Moreover, the UK’s FOC says ‘passengers traveling from the DRC may be subject to health screening at ports of entry in Tanzania.’

The US State Department says ‘travelers should remain aware of the situation and avoid direct contact with people who are ill, when possible. They should also monitor themselves for symptoms of Ebola (fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, unexplained bruising or bleeding) both during and for 3 weeks after travel.’

Tanzania also has a risk of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as dengue and malaria. 

To prevent these diseases, take steps to avoid bug bites, and be sure to take medicine to prevent malaria if you will be in areas with malaria.

Seek medical care if you feel ill during travel or after returning to the United States. Tell the doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms before you go to the office, medical clinic, or emergency room.

And, at least 1 month before you travel, visit a travel medicine specialist to get recommended medicines, vaccines, and guidance to help you stay healthy and safe, including advice on food and water precautions to prevent travelers’ diarrhea.

There are no approved vaccines or treatments for the Ebola Zaire disease today.

But, experimental research on Ebola vaccine candidates continues in the DRC and Uganda.

Merck’s V920 (rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP), a recombinant, replication-competent Ebola vaccine, and Jannsen’s Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN, a heterologous prime-boost Ebola vaccine regimen, are currently being tested on local populations in Africa.

And, the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority said it will provide funding and expertise to Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to manufacture the Ebola therapeutic, mAb114.  

Ebola news is published by Vax-Before-Travel


Article by
Dani Reiter