The outbreak of Ebola fever in Western Africa has induced the Health Ministry to issue recommendations to Israeli travelers to the areas. The viral disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) begins with sudden flu-like symptoms of fever with chills, chest pain and general discomfort along with nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting, a cough, sore throat and even hiccups.

However, the danger of infection to travelers is “very low,” according to the WHO, because transmission requires direct blood contact (dirty epidermic needles) of contact with human excrement or stools of animals that are either dead or alive. Travelers to the affected areas are advised to avoid contact with sick people and animals (including their meat).

It can develop into headaches, agitation, confusion, fatigue, depression, seizures and sometimes a coma. In half of all cases, there is bleeding from mucous membranes. Death occurs due to multiple-organ dysfunction syndrome.

Large-scale epidemics occur mostly in poor, isolated areas without modern hospitals or well-educated medical staff. In such situations, all that can be done is to immediately stop all needle-sharing or use without adequate sterilization procedures, isolate patients and ensure that the medical staff and visitors protect themselves.

There is no approved therapy for EHF. The World Health Organization said the outbreak is occurring in Guékédou, Macenta, Kissidougou, Dabola and Djingaraye districts in Guinea and in the Lofa region in Liberia bordering with Guinea.

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