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Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa (Update)

08 Jan 2015

In Guinea, the number of new cases of EVD is variable and showing no real evidence of a decline. The infection is still spreading within the country and the prefecture of Fria has reported the first two cases of EVD in the area.

The number of new cases of EVD in Liberia has fallen from more than 300 per week during August and September 2014, to 8 confirmed and 40 probable cases in 5 days ending 2 January 2015. The worst affected area at present is the district of Montserrado (includes the capital Monrovia) where 6 confirmed and 33 probable cases were reported in the 5 days to 2 January 2015.

Sierra Leone is the worst affected country at present with 248 new cases reported in the week ending 4 January 2015. The incidence of new cases, however, is showing signs of stabilising. The west of Sierra Leone is the worst affected. The capital, Freetown, reported 93 new confirmed cases, with the districts of Port Loko and Western Rural reporting 41 and 50 new confirmed cases, respectively, in the week ending 4 January.

As of 07 January 2015, a total of 20 000 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of EVD and more than 8000 deaths have been reported to WHO by the Ministries of Health for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The distribution of the cases in West Africa is listed below, case numbers include confirmed, probable and suspected:

  • Guinea - 2775 cases and 1781 deaths, cases in last 21 days 344.
  • Liberia - 8157 cases and 3496 deaths, cases in last 21 days 70.
  • Sierra Leone - 9780 cases and 2943 deaths, cases in last 21 days 900.

Advice for Travellers

The risk of travellers becoming infected or developing Ebola haemorrhagic fever is extremely low, unless there has been direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of dead or living infected persons or animals. Healthcare workers are at particular risk, although practising appropriate infection control should effectively prevent transmission of disease in this setting.

Travellers returning from tropical countries should always seek rapid medical attention if they develop flu-like symptoms (such as fever, headache, diarrhoea or general malaise) within three weeks after return, and be reminded to mention to their health care provider that they have recently travelled.