Ebola Hits DR Congo
What is Ebola?
Ebola virus disease (also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) is a rare and deadly disease that periodically causes outbreaks in several African countries. It is spread by contact with blood or body fluids of a person infected with Ebola virus. It is also spread by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals.
Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Skin rash, red eyes, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.
What is the current situation?
An outbreak of Ebola is occurring in the North Kivu (Kivu Nord) and Ituri provinces of the DRC (see map of Ebola-affected health zones in the DRC). The DRC Ministry of Health declared this current outbreak on August 1, 2018. For the latest information on this outbreak, including updates on numbers of cases and deaths, see the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Ebola
Who is at risk?
The risk of Ebola infection for most travelers to DRC is low. Only those going to the outbreak area or who otherwise have contact with a person with Ebola are at risk. Travelers could become infected if they come into contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person. Family and friends caring for people with Ebola and health care workers who do not use correct infection control precautions are at higher risk.
Although the risk for Ebola is low for most travelers to DRC, other infectious disease risks remain high, including the risk for malaria. Get recommended vaccines before travel, take medicine to prevent malaria and avoid bug bites, and follow other precautions to stay healthy and safe, such as following food and water precautions. Seek medical care if you feel ill during travel or after returning.
What can travelers do to protect themselves and others from Ebola?
There is no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved or widely available vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola, and many people who get the disease die. Therefore, it is important to take steps to prevent Ebola.
Take action to prevent Ebola infection.
Avoid contact with other people’s blood or body fluids. (See the section below for special precautions if your work puts you at risk for exposure to Ebola.)
Do not handle items that may have come in contact with a person’s blood or body fluids (such as clothes, bedding, needles, or medical equipment).
Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, and raw meat prepared from these animals (bushmeat) or meat from an unknown source.
Do not participate in funeral or burial rituals that require handling human remains.
Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.