Ebola Crisis in West Africa Prompts Strictest Warning – July 31, 2014

CDC on Thursday, July 31, issued a warning to avoid all nonessential travel to the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Level 3 travel warning, which is the highest level possible, is a reflection of the worsening Ebola outbreak in that region.

“This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a news release, adding: “It will take many months, and it won’t be easy, but Ebola can be stopped. We know what needs to be done. CDC is surging our response, sending 50 additional disease control experts to the region in the next 30 days.”

In addition to warning travelers to avoid going to the region, CDC is also assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. On the remote possibility that they do, CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These include notification to CDC of ill passengers on a plane before arrival, investigation of ill travelers, and, if necessary, quarantine. Earlier in the week CDC issued a Health Alert Notice.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

When an infection does occur in humans, there are several ways in which the virus can be transmitted to others. These include:
        •direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person
        •exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions

Ebola does not spread through the air or respiratory droplets like flu or other contagious illnesses. For more information, visit, www.cdc.gov/ebola