Infectious Diseases

October 2014 Ebola

The following information has been provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Health

There is currently an ongoing Ebola outbreak overseas. For more information see the Ebola update.

Sporadic outbreaks of Ebola have been occurring in Africa for decades. Its origin is unknown but fruit bats are considered a likely host, based on available evidence.

Ebola is a severe illness but spread can be prevented.

How is it spread?

Although Ebola causes severe illness it is not easy to catch – it is not spread through the air and is not as infectious as the flu or measles. You can’t catch Ebola by being next to an infected person – it requires contact with infected body fluids (such as blood, saliva, urine or faeces) through broken skin or mucous membranes (such as the mouth or eyes).


You can also catch Ebola by:

  • handling infected animals (chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, or fruit bats)
  • contact with blood or other body fluids and organs of infected animals
  • eating infected ‘bush meat’ – the meat of African wild animals.


Symptoms, treatment and prevention

See Ministry of health web site for more information


Travelling to an affected country

Travel to countries deemed to be extreme risk on the MFAT Safe Travel website  will not be routinely approved. An appeal to this rule may be lodged with AVC (POD) using the procedures in the University Travel Policy.


Some countries with EBOLA outbreaks have placed border restrictions which will significantly impact departure options and freedom of movement.


Advice if in contact with suspected case or travelling to an affected country

  • Avoid visiting households or health care settings that have been affected by an Ebola outbreak.
  • Avoid direct contact with blood and other body fluids of people with Ebola or unknown illnesses.
  • Avoid direct contact with bodies of people who died of Ebola or unknown illnesses.
  • Avoid unprotected sex with an infected person or a person recovering from Ebola. (The virus can still be spread through semen for up to 7 weeks.)
  • Avoid contact with any objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with blood or body fluids.
  • Maintain strict standards of hygiene.
    • Avoid close contact with or handling of wild animals.
    • Avoid live or dead animals, as both can spread the virus. Animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys and fruit bats may be carriers.
    • Avoid handling raw or undercooked wild meat.
      • Health care workers should practice strict infection control measures including the use of personal protective equipment (like gowns, masks, goggles and gloves).


Further advice for travelers is available from the Safe Travel website


Infectious disease information


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