THE DEPARTMENT OF Foreign Affairs has updated its travel advice for any Irish citizens planning a visit to (or arriving home from) the West African nation of Liberia.
It follows the issuing last month of an identical health advisory for Guinea, where the tropical virus has killed more than 100 people.
According to the current advice from the DFA, updated last week:
Any traveller returning from a trip to (or travel through) the affected areas, and who develops a fever [greater than] 38C within 21 days of their return should seek urgent medical attention.
However, the Department states that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised against travel or trade restrictions on Liberia, Guinea or neighbouring countries “based on the current information available on this Ebola outbreak”.
Guinea has been hit by the most severe strain of the virus, known as Zaire Ebola, which has had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent in past outbreaks, and for which there is no vaccine, cure or even specific treatment.
The WHO has described west Africa’s first outbreak among humans as one of the most challenging since the virus emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is also among the most deadly. 158 people are thought to have been infected and 101 deaths recorded in Guinea and 12 in neighbouring Liberia.
The WHO said yesterday it was providing emergency training for 70 people who would fan out across Conakry, the Guinean capital, to track people who have had close contact with Ebola patients.
The UN agency is also setting up a special alert and response operation centre within the Guinean health ministry and training staff at Guinea’s main hospital and other health facilities.
The outbreak spread to the capital, a sprawling port city on the Atlantic coast and home to two million people, after first being reported in the country’s remote southern forests.
Includes reporting from AFP.