Skip to main content

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a disease that is caused by a virus. In humans, Ebola can be spread from a person who has symptoms to another person. Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two outbreaks in Africa and there have been other outbreaks of Ebola in Africa since that first outbreak.In 2014, a serious Ebola outbreak began in West Africa, causing thousands of deaths. The primary outbreak is limited to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The disease has spread beyond Africa in small pockets when sick people or aid workers traveled to other countries and brought the disease with them. 

The CDC has given updated information for Colleges and Universities on the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa.  The most important thing to remember, is that the outbreak has very little risks for people in the United States.  Please see the infographic below for how the virus is spread:

CDC: Facts about Ebola (Click for PDF Download)

CDC has provided the following advice for study abroad, foreign exchange, or other education-related travel

Is it safe to travel to countries where the Ebola outbreaks are occurring (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria)? What should we do if we have study abroad, foreign exchange, research, or other education-related travel planned to these countries?

  • CDC has posted Warning - Level 3 Travel Notices recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone at this time. We advise that education-related travel to these countries be postponed until further notice.
  • CDC has posted an Alert - Level 2 Travel Notice for Nigeria with recommendations for enhanced precautions to help travelers protect themselves and help prevent the spread of Ebola. These recommendations may change as the situation evolves. In the event that the situation worsens in Nigeria, CDC may recommend against non-essential travel to Nigeria. Colleges and universities should consider this possibility when deciding whether to proceed with education-related travel plans in Nigeria.
  • The US Department of State takes action to protect US citizens who travel outside the US through a number of diplomatic channels. However, in the event of an outbreak, any country has the right to enact measures (such as quarantine of exposed people, isolation of sick people, and screening of people entering or exiting the country for sickness or disease exposure) to protect its citizens and to prevent the spread of an outbreak to other countries. These measures may infringe on the individual rights of those who appear to be infected with or exposed to a disease of public health concern-including visiting US citizens. The ability of the U.S. Department of State to intervene in such situations is limited. See the US Department of State's Emergency ResourcesExternal Web Site Icon page for more information.
  • Visit the CDC Travel Health Notices page for the most up-to-date guidance and recommendations for each country, including information about health screening of incoming and outgoing travelers and restrictions on travel within countries.

For the complete FAQ from the CDC, please visit here.

© 2017 Eastern Washington University
EWU expands opportunities for personal transformation through excellence in learning.