What Travelers Need to Know About the Ebola Virus Outbreak
On September 20, Peter Greenberg sat down with Arnie Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of Travel Weekly, to discuss the recent Ebola Virus Outbreak–and how it will affect travelers.
“A number of airlines have actually stopped flying to the West African countries that have been affected,” Weissmann said. “You will no doubt begin to see informational signs about Ebola in just about every international airport.” So, how worried should travelers really be?
As Weissmann noted, if an infected person travels from one area, then changes planes in an international airport—such as Frankfurt—and then travels on to their destination, the spread is less controlled.
Peter recalled times in the days of H1N1, SARS, and Bird Flu, when travelers might have had their temperatures taken right there at the airport, without a choice in the matter.
The difference between previous outbreaks and Ebola? The Ebola virus is not airborne. It’s not a matter of coughing or fever, it’s less detectable and less communicable, but it’s still something that has to be taken very, very seriously.
So travelers, no matter where they are, should be aware of the power in their hands—literally.
On September 19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) posted an Ebola Guidance for Airlines. The purpose was to “give information to airlines on stopping ill travelers from boarding, managing and reporting onboard sick travelers, protecting crew and passengers from infection, and cleaning the plane and disinfecting contaminated areas.”
The guidance notes that Ebola can spread only through direct contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected person. To keep protected, wash your hands often, wear bandages if you have any cuts or open wounds, treat all foreign body fluids as if they are infectious.
As Peter stated:
“Bring antiseptic wipes with you everywhere you travel, figuring out the touch points—where your skin touches objects other people have touched.”
These touch points include any type of shared space where germs might hang out, such as handles, door knobs, tray tables, armrests, bathroom doors, and counters. Ebola outbreak or not, you have nothing to lose from being careful, and the risk of contracting the Ebola virus can be minimized.
When it’s confirmed a traveler has Ebola, the CDC will conduct an investigation to assess risk and inform passengers and crew of possible exposure. If you’re worried about catching the virus, watch out for Ebola symptoms for 21 days after traveling: a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit, severe headaches, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, unexpected bleeding, or bruising. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention.
Want to learn more about the Ebola virus? Visit:
- Everything You Need to Know About the Ebola Virus
- The Ebola Outbreak: How You Can Make A Difference
- How Preventative Care Helps You Save
By Omer Harari for PeterGreenberg.com