Thursday, April 3, 2014

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in Guinea April 2, 2014

 U.S. Embassy Banjul wishes to share the following information regarding the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Guinea. Guinea does not share a border with The Gambia.

As of April 1, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that there were 127 suspected individuals with the Ebola virus and 83 fatalities in Guinea. While the majority of these cases were in the southeast of Guinea, far from the capital, there were twelve confirmed individuals with four fatalities in Conakry.

WHO confirmed seven suspected individuals with Ebola with two fatalities in Liberia. U.S. Embassy Freetown, Sierra Leone reports that there are no confirmed victims of Ebola in Sierra Leone, but there are individuals under investigation. There have been no confirmed individuals in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, or The Gambia to date.

U.S. Embassy Banjul notes that: • The Guinean government has limited the sale of bats and traditional bat dishes to minimize the risk of additional cases.

• Ebola virus is contracted from individuals who are already showing symptoms that include high fever, diarrhea, bloody vomit, and bleeding from body cavities. Furthermore, Ebola is NOT contagious via the respiratory route like influenza, chickenpox or measles and hence is not readily transmissible in most social settings.

• The illness is NOT contagious before individuals exhibit these symptoms; therefore, it is recommended to avoid individuals showing these symptoms
• Symptoms may not show up in exposed individuals for 2-21 days.
Medical experts have recommended:

• Not handling, preparing or eating bush meat to include bats, monkeys, gorillas and antelope.
• Avoiding handling bodily fluids of ill individuals unless universal precautions, i.e. using protective gear that healthcare workers wear, such as gloves, gowns, and face shields.

• Not participating in funeral practices that involve touching the dead body, or touching the body of someone who has died, or is suspected to have died from Ebola.

• Good hand washing is always advisable, particularly around individuals who are ill. If you are ill, do not travel, go to work, or meet with other individuals and seek medical attention.
For more information on Ebola hemorrhagic fever, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Ebola website. You can also call 1-888-407-4747.

To obtain CDC travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas, or visit the CDC website at

You can stay in touch and get U.S. Embassy updates by checking the Embassy Banjul website. You can also get global updates at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs website where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts , and Country
Specific Information.

If you don't have internet access, you can get current information on safety and security by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States, or for callers from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

If you are going to live in or travel to The Gambia, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date. It is important during enrollment or updating of information to include your current phone number and current email address where you can be reached in case of an emergency.

The U.S. Embassy in The Gambia is located at Kairaba Avenue, Fajara, P.M.B. 19. If you have questions or concerns about safety or related issues, you are encouraged to contact the consular section at the Embassy by phone (220) 439-2856, fax (220) 439-2475.

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