CDC urges all US residents to avoid nonessential travel to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone because of an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola.
What is the current situation?
An outbreak of Ebola has been ongoing in Liberia since March 2014. This outbreak also affects Sierra Leone and Guinea; to date more than 1320 cases have occurred in the three countries and more than 725 people have died, making this the largest outbreak of Ebola in history. At least three Americans have been infected; two are health care workers in an Ebola clinic. Affected districts include Bomi, Bong, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Montserrado (including the capital city of Monrovia), Margibi, and Nimba. Instances of civil unrest and violence against aid workers have been reported in West Africa as a result of the outbreak. The public health infrastructure of Liberia is being severely strained as the outbreak grows.
The Liberian government has recently instituted enhanced measures to combat the spread of Ebola, many of which will likely make travel to, from, and within the country difficult. The government has taken the following steps:
- Closed all borders except major entry points (Roberts International Airport, James Spriggs Payne Airport, Foya Crossing, Bo Waterside Crossing, and Ganta Crossing).
- Instituted prevention and screening measures at entry points that remain open. This new travel policy will affect incoming and outgoing travelers.
- Instituted restrictions on public and other mass gatherings.
- Instituted quarantine measures for communities heavily affected by Ebola; travel in and out of those communities will be restricted.
- Authorized military personnel to aid in enforcing these and other prevention and control measures.
CDC recommends that US residents avoid nonessential travel to Liberia. If you must travel, such as for humanitarian aid work in response to the outbreak, protect yourself by following CDC’s advice for avoiding contact with the blood and body fluids of people who are ill with Ebola. For more information, visit Outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone on the CDC Ebola website.
This recommendation to avoid nonessential travel is intended to facilitate control of the outbreak and prevent continued spread in two ways: to protect US residents who may be planning travel to the affected areas and to enable the Liberian government to respond most effectively to contain this outbreak. CDC remains committed to the multinational effort to assist Liberia in controlling the outbreak and is scaling up its response activities by, among other things, deploying additional staff to the affected countries. International humanitarian assistance must continue, and CDC encourages airlines to continue flights to and from the region to facilitate transport of teams and supplies essential to control the outbreak.