The Ebola Outbreak?

The media around the world has been full of stories of the horrific outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. But in many cases, some very important facts get lost. So how big is your risk when travelling to our regions – i.e. East Africa and Southern Africa?

Here are the facts:

1. Transmission
Yes, Ebola is contagious. It is a virus that starts with fever and similar symptoms to the common cold or a stomach bug. Why the big fuss? Unfortunately, it has a very high mortality rate and causes haemorrhaging in the final stages. And although it can be treated, lack of medical facilities play a huge role in the high mortality rate in Africa. BUT what is important to note is that this virus is not easily transmitted from one person to the next. It is only transferred through direct contact with bodily fluids and is not airborne. It is also important to note that unlike many other viruses, Ebola only becomes contagious when symptoms start showing up. This means that even if you were in an area where there may have been confirmed Ebola cases, you would need to be in direct contact with an Ebola infected person to be at risk.

2. Distance
We have to face the facts that it is always potentially possible for a virus to spread. But we have to be realistic. Cape Town, South Africa, is over 5797km from the current Ebola outbreak. Arusha Tanzania is 5694km from the outbreak and Nairobi, Kenya is 5656km. Maun Botswana is 5114km. But what does this mean? Let’s have a look:
Madrid, Spain is 3600 km from the outbreak, London, UK 4936km and Recife Brazil, 3026km.
So what this means is that Europe is in fact much closer to West Africa than Southern and East Africa.

So far there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in either Southern or East Africa. Therefore as far as our regional areas, there is no outbreak where we are. We will keep you posted, but please don’t cancel your trip without reviewing the facts.

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