Ebola, or Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), is a rare but deadly illness that is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. Ebola was first discovered in Africa in 1976, and the virus has emerged in several African counties over the years. Most recently, the Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in May of 2018.
The CDC lists typical Ebola symptoms as fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.
How To Protect Yourself from Ebola
While Ebola is very rare in the United States, Ebola is considered widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the CDC, if you are visiting or living in a place where Ebola is widespread, there are ways to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the virus. When in an area affected by Ebola:
- Avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids
- Avoid items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids
- Avoid funeral rituals that require handling the body of someone who died from Ebola
- Avoid contact with bats and primates or blood, fluids, or meat from those animals
- Avoid meat from an unknown source
- Avoid contact with semen from a man who had Ebola until you know the virus is gone from the semen
Travel Medicine at MUSC Health
Travelers from Charleston can stay healthy before, during, and after a trip with MUSC Health Travel Medicine services. Our infectious disease doctors specialize in protecting you against health risks you may face when traveling abroad. While an Ebola vaccine is not currently available, one of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to get vaccines for diseases that are common in the areas you are visiting. You can also schedule an appointment with an MUSC Health primary care doctor about your travel plans and schedule any necessary vaccinations.
MUSC Global Health
MUSC is also working toward creating healthier communities all over the world through the MUSC Center for Global Health. Our work includes research to find new solutions to global health problems, collaboration with experts around the globe, educating the next generation of global health leaders with hands-on clinical work in other countries, and improving care in developing countries through medical missions with MUSC doctors, nurses, and medical students.