Skip to main content


Click to enlarge

Are you in danger from Ebola?

The viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) Ebola is one of the most feared diseases of the 21st century. The Ebola outbreak of 2014-15 involved saw 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths. Infect by the Ebola virus causes a fever and bleeding. The virus affects the entire body by damaging regulation systems.

The chances of contracting Ebola in the course of normal travel are very small – but it is worth exercising caution and informing yourself.

Where does Ebola occur?

The 2014-15 outbreak of Ebola affected three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Cases have been recorded in Central Africa, too.

How does Ebola spread?

The virus that causes Ebola can be contracted by touching an infected person or their bodily fluids. It can be picked up from medical equipment that has been used to care for an infected person. It is also sexually transmitted, and can be contracted from touching or eating raw or undercooked ‘bushmeat’ (the meat of wild African animals). Read more about Ebola from the Government of Canada.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

The symptoms of Ebola include:

  • raised temperature
  • joint and muscle pain
  • severe weakness
  • sore throat

Gastro-intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting can occur, too. In the later stages, there will be internal bleeding and bleeding from the ears, eyes, nose and mouth.

If you think you or someone you are caring for has Ebola or another VHF, get medical advice immediately. Ebola is rare, but these symptoms are definitely a cause for concern. Tell your doctor about your recent travel history.

Should I be concerned about Ebola?

If you are travelling to an area where Ebola occurs, you may be at risk of exposure depending on what activities you have planned.

Healthcare or voluntary workers who care for Ebola patients could be at increased risk of exposure. Laboratory workers are also at risk. These groups should be given VHF isolation guidelines to follow by the organization they are working for.

Talk to your travel health adviser to get information about recent outbreaks and use this information to make decisions about your itinerary. Another source of information about Ebola outbreaks is the World Health Organization’s Disease Outbreak News page for Ebola.

How can I protect myself from Ebola?

There is no vaccine for Ebola.

If you are travelling in a place where there is an Ebola outbreak, you should take these steps.

  • follow local infection control instructions and observe quarantine zones
  • avoid mass gatherings if you know an outbreak has occurred recently
  • do not touch people who appear ill
  • take normal travellers’ food and water hygiene precautions
  • practise good hand hygiene
  • do not touch dead or sick animals
  • practise safer sex, particularly if you know your partner has recovered from Ebola within the last year
  • do not eat or handle bushmeat

If you develop a feverish illness on your return from a region where Ebola occurs, seek medical advice. Share your recent travel history at your appointment as it will help speed diagnosis.