Monday, August 4, 2014

Would You Still Travel to Africa In Light Of Ebola Outbreak?

If there's one thing the media does well, it's fearmongering. I'm not trying to downplay the devastating impact that a potential widespread outbreak of Ebola would have, but the news media would have you believe that it is all but imminent. However, there's no ignoring the fact that this is the worst outbreak of Ebola in history.

As I mentioned last week, I'm beginning to plan a trip next month and our top choice is the Seychelles. I really wasn't worried about the Ebola news at first, since in terms of proximity, the Seychelles which is an island off the East Coast of Africa, is nowhere near the countries in West Africa, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, where the outbreak has occurred. It would be similar to cancelling a trip to San Francisco, based on events happening in New York.

But there are news reports today that Ebola has spread to Nigeria, and even news of a 72 year-old woman dying on a flight to back London after traveling back from Sierra Leone, although she ultimately tested negative for Ebola.

Now, this has me re-thinking the idea of traveling to Africa entirely. The rational part of me has the following thoughts:
  • The WHO is throwing all resources at this to contain the outbreak, so the chances of Ebola spreading to the Seychelles should be relatively low, and if that did happen we'd cancel the trip for sure
  • The chances of contracting Ebola are low, since it isn't airborne and only spread through close contact involving bodily fluids. If we're vigilant about washing hands and avoiding contact in general, we should be OK
  • We still have 1.5 months before we leave, can continue to plan the trip and book refundable pieces of the itinerary while monitoring the situation
  • Technically, you could catch Ebola from anyone, anywhere in the world. If we are not traveling to Africa, we probably shouldn't travel at all until this is resolved

That's where my thinking was initially, that overall the risks are really low even if we traveled to Eastern Africa. But after reading about Ebola nonstop for the past couple days, here's my modified thinking:
  • This isn't just some run-of-the-mill flu or virus, it's FREAKING EBOLA [do yourself a favor and DO NOT Google image search "ebola virus"]
  • If you catch Ebola, you will bleed out of your eyes and die

So like I said at the beginning, I'm a bit torn. Am I just being paranoid, or are there real risks here? Would you still travel to Africa given this news?

1 comment:

  1. Nigeria is still thousands of miles from Seychelles though. An ebola case was found in New York but we aren't evacuating the continental North America just yet.