Ebola outbreak in West Africa: risk for infection remains low

News

​The risk of infection for tourists, visitors and residents of the affected areas is considered very low if proper precautions are taken, concludes the ECDC Rapid Risk Assessment on the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa. These measures include avoiding contact with symptomatic patients and/or their body fluids, or with deceased patients and/or their body fluids. Generic precautions for travelling to West African countries also apply to preventing infections with the Ebola virus.

​The risk of infection for tourists, visitors and residents of the affected areas is considered very low if proper precautions are taken, concludes the ECDC Rapid Risk Assessment on the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa. These measures include avoiding contact with symptomatic patients and/or their body fluids, or with deceased patients and/or their body fluids. Generic precautions for travelling to West African countries also apply to preventing infections with the Ebola virus.While highly unlikely, it is not impossible that travellers infected in West Africa could arrive in the EU while incubating the disease and develop symptoms while in the EU. To address the risk, the ECDC assessment describes four scenarios for the EU/EEA and ways to manage them. The scenarios are:• person with suspected exposure to the Ebola virus • person presenting symptoms compatible with EVD• passenger with symptoms compatible with EVD on board of an airplane• patients and healthcare workers having been exposed to an unrecognised Ebola patientAs of 7 April, Guinea and Liberia had reported confirmed cases of EVD, while Sierra Leone, Mali and Ghana were investigating suspected cases.Infection with Ebola viruses originating from Africa causes severe disease in humans. The onset of symptoms is sudden and includes fever, muscle aches, weakness, headache and sore throat. The next stage is characterised by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash and malfunction of liver and kidneys and in the final stage, patients develop multi-organ failure. The incubation period of the disease is usually four to ten days. The case-fatality ratio for Zaire Ebola virus is estimated to be between 50% and 90%.Rapid risk assessment: Outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West AfricaEVD Epidemiological update, 28 March 2014More information:Ebola and Marburg fevers: Health topic pagesEbola and Marburg fevers: Factsheet for health professionalsWHO/AFRO outbreak news