World Health Organization against bans on travel from Ebola-affected countries

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend general bans on travel or trade, or general quarantine of travellers arriving from Ebola-affected countries, as measures to contain the outbreak.

Such measures can create a false impression of control and may have a detrimental impact on the number of health care workers volunteering to assist Ebola control or prevention efforts in the affected countries. Such measures may also adversely reduce essential trade, including supplies of food, fuel and medical equipment to the affected countries, contributing to their humanitarian and economic hardship.

Current exit screening of all persons departing affected countries through international airports, seaports and major land crossings is recommended by WHO and can reduce the numbers of people with symptoms from travelling from the countries with high levels of Ebola transmission.


While screening upon entry into non-affected countries may provide an opportunity to further increase public awareness about Ebola, such screening also can require significant resources including staff, facilities and systems to care for ill travellers who might be suspected of having Ebola.

Advice to travellers

People who have travelled to 1 of the 3 West African countries currently affected by Ebola virus disease (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) should take the following precautions for 21 days after returning:

• stay within reach of a good quality health care facility

• be aware of the symptoms of infection (sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, and sometimes bleeding)

• immediately report a fever of 38° C or higher to their local medical emergency service (ideally by phone) and mention their travel history.


•  Early treatment improves the chance of recovery.

• To catch Ebola requires direct contact with the body fluid of an Ebola-infected person.

• Asymptomatic individuals are not infectious, even if they are incubating the disease.



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