There continues to be active transmission of Ebola virus disease in Liberia, with the total number of cases of confirmed, probable, and suspected infection at over 300. The most affected counties are Lofa, Montserrado, Bong, and Bomi. However, cases have been found in other counties as well. Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), experts in viral diseases, continue to assist the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW). CDC is supporting the MOHSW with coordination of the public health response, including public health messaging, surveillance, case identification, contact tracing and data management. DTRA is providing support for laboratory testing and diagnosis.
The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a rare but deadly disease. The risk to most travelers is low, but travelers could be infected if they come into contact with an ill person’s blood or body fluids, sick wildlife, or infected bushmeat.
Following are some of the more important points about transmission of the Ebola virus and precautions to protect you.
- Initial signs and symptoms of Ebola virus disease (EVD) include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. This may progress to vomiting, diarrhea, and external or internal bleeding.
- Human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with the body fluids of a person who is acutely ill or who has died from Ebola.
- When a person is sick, it is possible to contract the virus by coming into contact with his or her blood and body fluids (to include vomit, feces, urine, breast milk, semen and sweat).
- Transmission among humans is mainly among caregiver family members or health care workers tending to the very ill, or in preparation of the body of a deceased case for burial .
- The virus is killed by contact with soap, bleach, sunlight, or drying. A washing machine and use of detergent will kill the virus in clothing contaminated with infected body fluids.
- A person can have the virus without symptoms for 2-21 days, the average being 5 to 8 days before becoming ill. The person is not contagious until they are acutely ill.
- As always, practice good hand hygiene and hand washing techniques.
- If a person has possibly been in contact with someone who has known or suspected Ebola infection and develops symptoms or signs of infection, he or she should seek medical care immediately.
- Seeking medical care quickly increases the chance of survival.
To obtain Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas, or visit the CDC website athttp://www.cdc.gov/travel.For more information on Ebola hemorrhagic fever, please visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov<http://www.travel.state.gov/>. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the U.S. Embassy Monrovia website. You can also get global updates at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warning, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips. If you don’t have internet access, current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The U.S. Embassy in Monrovia is located 502 Benson Street, Monrovia, Liberia, and is open Mon – Thursday 0800- 1730 and Fridays 0800-1300; (Tel: 231 776 777 000). If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is: 077-677-7000 (press 1 at the prompt).