The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Two imported cases, including one death, and two locally acquired cases in healthcare workers have been reported in the United States. CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent additional cases of Ebola in the United States.
Ebola is highly infectious but it is not airborne. It is contracted only via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected humans or animals. Most infections are the result of human-to-human transmission including the handling of infected corpses, but it is also contracted through the preparation and eating of bush meat such as fruit bats, which host the disease.
Concern has been working in the two countries hardest hit by the latest outbreak – Sierra Leone and Liberia – for many years. Already on the ground, Concern was one of the first NGOs to respond to the crisis, immediately diverting existing resources to help fight the spread of the disease. While Ebola has no proven cure or vaccine, it is preventable. Prevention requires both education and supplies.
Directly and indirectly, tourism accounts for almost 10% of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP and pays the salaries of millions of people. The industry is worth about $170 billion a year. In 2013 more than 36m people visited Africa, a figure that had been growing by 6% per year. Now many safari lodges are closer to extinction than the animals that surround them. Redundant workers might eventually turn to poaching.