Ebola in LiberiaUpdated September 9, 2015
What is the current situation?
For more than a year, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone have been experiencing the largest outbreak of Ebola in history. On May 9, 2015, more than a year after the outbreak began, the World Health Organization declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, but at the end of June, a new case was reported. This case caused a small cluster that was quickly detected and controlled.
As of September 2, 2015, two incubation periods (42 days) have passed since the last survivor in that cluster tested negative for Ebola, and no new cases have occurred in Liberia. The health system in Liberia continues to monitor for new cases and to take precautions to prevent transmission in the country. CDC is also closely monitoring the situation and will update information and advice for travelers as needed.
CDC is no longer recommending that US residents practice enhanced precautions when traveling to Liberia. Although there is believed to be no risk of Ebola to travelers, travelers should, as usual, avoid contact with sick people, dead bodies, or blood and body fluids. The health infrastructure in Liberia had been severely strained by the Ebola outbreak but is now returning to normal.
Travelers should also, as usual, avoid contact with animals (such as bats or monkeys) or with raw or undercooked meat and should not eat or handle bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food).
Much progress has been made in controlling the outbreak in the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone and Guinea, but the outbreak has not yet ended in those countries.
Preparing to Travel to Liberia
CDC recommends you take steps to protect yourself from other health risks in Liberia. See Health Information for Travelers to Liberia(http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/liberia?) to learn more about ways to stay healthy and safe on your trip.
- Visit a travel medicine provider, ideally 4–6 weeks before you leave, to discuss health recommendations based on your medical history and travel plans.
- Check your health insurance plan to learn what is covered in the event that you become sick. CDC recommends that anyone traveling to Liberia have full coverage, including coverage for emergency medical evacuation.
- Information about medical evacuation services can be found on the Air Ambulance/MedEvac/Medical Escort Providers page on the US Department of State’s website.
- Be sure to check the coverage limits for evacuation insurance. Also check to see if the policy covers evacuation to the United States or to the nearest location where adequate medical care is offered.
Returning to the United States
Exit Screening in Liberia
Travelers leaving Liberia are being screened at the airport before departure. You should be prepared for airport screeners to check your temperature and look for signs and symptoms of illness when you leave the country. They may also ask you questions about your time in Liberia.
Monitoring in the United States
The United States requires all air travelers to the United States whose trip starts in Liberia to enter through one of five US airports (JFK in New York, Newark in New Jersey, Dulles in Virginia near Washington DC, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, and O’Hare in Chicago). Staff will take your temperature and ask you questions about your time in Liberia. You will be asked to provide your contact information so state or local public health workers can contact you later, if needed. You will also be given some information about watching your health for 21 days after leaving Liberia.
During those 21 days, if you develop a fever (100.4°F / 38°C or above) or other symptoms such as severe headache, fatigue (feeling very tired), muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising, contact your state or local health department. By doing so, you can receive any needed medical care quickly.
Traveling to Other Countries or on Cruises
CDC does not recommend any travel restrictions for people arriving in the United States from Liberia. However, other countries (and some cruise lines) might have policies in place that restrict travel.
- If you plan to travel to another country, call the country’s embassy to find out if they have any travel bans or quarantines for people who have recently been in Liberia.
- Some cruise lines may not allow passengers to board ships if they have recently been in, or traveled through, certain countries. Call the cruise line in advance if you are planning to take a cruise in the near future.
- Health Information for Travelers to Liberia(http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/liberia)
- Humanitarian Aid Workers(http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/humanitarian-aid-workers)
- Recommendations about International Travel for Education Purposes and the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa(http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/advice-for-colleges-universities-and-students-about-ebola-in-west-africa)