Travel Alert Expanded for Ebola Outbreak in The Democratic Republic of Congo
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the existing Level 2 Travel Alert regarding the Ebola Zaire outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This August 29, 2019, Travel Alert says ‘travelers to this area could be infected with Ebola if they come into contact with an infected person’s blood or other body fluids. It is also spread by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals.’
‘The risk of Ebola infection for most travelers to DRC is low.’
But, the CDC says ‘travelers to the DRC should seek medical care immediately if they develop fever, muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising during or after travel.’
This new Travel Alert says the ‘DRC Ministry of Health declared the current Ebola outbreak on August 1, 2018. The North Kivu and Ituri provinces are among the most populated in DRC.’
‘Furthermore, these provinces share borders with Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda with the frequent cross-border movement for personal travel and trade. The provinces have been experiencing a prolonged humanitarian crisis and deteriorating security, which are limiting public health efforts to respond to this outbreak.’
Ebola virus disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease that periodically causes outbreaks in several African countries.
The virus is spread by contact with blood or body fluids of a person infected with Ebola. It is also spread by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.
‘And, family and friends caring for people with Ebola and healthcare workers who do not use correct infection control precautions are at high-risk.’
‘For travelers to the Ebola outbreak area, separate yourself from others and seek medical care immediately if you have been in an area where Ebola is spreading and develop fever or other symptoms of Ebola for 21-days.’
‘And, before you go to a doctor’s office, urgent care center, or emergency room, call ahead and 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.’
‘If you need help getting health care overseas, contact the nearest US embassy, says the CDC.’
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Additionally, the CDC has provided recommendations to ensure workers with potential occupational exposure to Ebola are healthy when they return to the United States.
There is no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved preventive vaccine or specific treatment for the Ebola virus disease.’
‘An experimental vaccine from Merck called v920 (rVSV-ZEBOV) was found to be highly protective against the virus in a trial conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015.’
FDA licensure for the v920 vaccine is expected in 2019, said Merck in an earlier press release.
And, the Janssen Ad26.ZEBOV Ebola vaccine candidate is being deployed in Uganda. This vaccine candidate is a monovalent vaccine providing active specific acquired immunity to the Ebola virus.
For the latest information on this outbreak, including updates on numbers of cases and deaths, see the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Ebola situation reports: the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Previously, the CDC issued Travel Alerts regarding Measles Outbreak Notice and Polio outbreaks in DRC. The CDC recommends that all travelers to DRC be vaccinated fully against both measles and polio.
Furthermore, on April 18, 2019, the US Department of State has identified this part of the DRC as a “do not travel” zone because of crime, Ebola, and kidnapping. If you are a US citizen, the State Department suggests enrolling online in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates and information about getting help in the event of an emergency.
Travel Alerts are published by Vax-Before-Travel