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Ebola Traveler Guidelines

10/17/14

  1. Involved Countries: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal
    • Currently the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a Travel Alert Level 3 in place: No travel to the first 3 countries unless absolutely essential/unavoidable.
  2. Travel Medical Kit:
    • First-aid and medical supplies: thermometer, household disinfectant (like Clorox),alcohol-based hand-rubs/wipes
    • Respiratory mask (N-95)
    • Disposable gloves (several pairs)
  3. Inform yourself and co-travelers about Ebola and Marburg virus and malaria (cdc.gov)
  4. Update (4-6 weeks pre-travel) all indicated vaccinations and take antimalarial preventive meds (plus malaria treatment meds for trips longer than 10-days); this will make the prospect of Ebola virus disease more quickly considered if other fever-associated illnesses endemic to those countries have been covered with immunizations and medications.

    The other benefit of optimal disease prevention strategies is that you lessen the chance of needing medical care – and in the Ebola countries you want to keep far away from healthcare workers and facilities.

  5. Check health insurance: Consider additional coverage for medical expenses outside the U.S., medical evacuation, repatriation of remains.
  6. Check with U.S. embassy at the destination, the U.S State Department, and your destination country’s embassy on reputable, reliable, in-country healthcare providers/facilities along your route.
  7. Avoid anyone who appears ill – no physical contact; keep a distance (over 25 feet) from coughers.
  8. As much as possible, reside within the tourist/employee “envelope” available to you; minimize physical exposure to locals and their environments.
  9. Eat only well-cooked food. Fruits and vegetables may be a risk.
    • If possible, take along prepackaged food sources (“energy bars”, etc).
    • Do not eat “bushmeat” sold at local markets.
  10. Frequent, careful handwashing (a full minute) with soap and water or alcohol.
  11. No contact with ill or dead animals, especially primates.
  12. If you develop fever, contact a physician immediately.
  13. If you have had potential exposure (see cdc.gov website for “exposure risks”), monitor your health daily for 21 days (take your temperature several times a day or if you feel feverish, have chills or inappropriate sweats).
  14. If you need medical evaluation, call the healthcare provider or emergency department or clinic first, so arrangements can be made for your arrival and entry to minimize exposure risk for others. Do not just show up (you would want others to do this for you and your loved ones).
  15. Follow some of the more general precautions on limiting travel and exposure to locals and to the healthcare system in countries bordering those in point #1: Guinea Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Cameroon.
    • Point #4 stands as important advice throughout sub-saharan and West Africa.
  16. Daily check www.traveldoc.com and its links to cdc.gov for updated information and perspectives on the Ebola outbreak.

 

Edward R. Rensimer, MD, FACP

Director, IMC