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August 13, 2014
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Government issues Ebola travel warning

The Ministry of Health is advising persons who have to travel to the Ebola-affected areas of Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea and Sierra Leone in West Africa to take precautions to protect their health and prevent the spread of the virus to other areas.

Director, Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services, Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse, says this is especially important given that the World Health Organisation, last Friday, declared Ebola a public health emergency of international concern.

"This means that every country has to put in place a response mechanism for the virus. Jamaica already has a plan in place that is now being further developed. A part of that plan involves highlighting the responsibility of travellers to Ebola-affected areas. I would like to remind persons, however, that they should not undertake non-essential travel to these areas," Dr. DuCasse said.

Travellers are advised not to handle dead animals and restrict intimate contact with

persons who may be infected or could be a contact of an infected person. The Ebola virus is a severe, often fatal illness with a death rate of up to 90 per cent.

It is transmitted through direct contact with blood (for example, through broken skin), other bodily fluids or secretion such as the stool, saliva, urine and semen of infected persons. Infection can also occur if broken skin comes in contact with environments that have become contaminated with an Ebola patient's infectious fluids such as soiled clothing, bed linen or used needles.

Symptoms of Ebola include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This may be followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and, in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

For more information persons may contact the Ministry of Health's Emergency Operations Centre at 1-888-663-5683 or 1-888-ONE LOVE.

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