If you think heading to Africa on vacation in the midst of an Ebola outbreak is a crazy idea, think again. The Ebola virus is actually limited to a very small part of a very large continent, and it’s quite hard to catch. So if you are planning a trip to Africa, don’t let your own paranoia or media reports scare you — the chances of getting the disease are slim to none. Here are 10 reasons you DON’T need to worry about Ebola if you’re going to Africa.
1. The Ebola outbreak is far away from where you are going
Popular tourist destinations like Kruger National Park, the pyramids of Giza, and the Maasai Mara Reserve are farther away from the Ebola outbreak than Alaska is from Florida. Africa is a big continent, folks. So unless you’re a healthcare worker going to attend to sick Ebola patients, most places you’re likely to go to in Africa are far away from Ebola.
2. There are 55 countries in Africa, but only three have Ebola outbreaks
There are a lot of countries in Africa (no, Africa is not a country), and only three of these (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) have a serious Ebola outbreak that is currently going on. Even if you were to go to one of these countries, the chance of getting Ebola is very slim. Even the World Health Organization does not recommend avoiding travel to these countries.
3. Ebola isn’t airborne
Unless you know somebody with Ebola and have come in close contact with their bodily fluids, the likelihood you will get the virus is more remote than winning the lottery AND being struck by lightning on the same day. The few doctors who contracted Ebola were all in direct contact with dozens of Ebola patients for months.
4. Not a single tourist has contracted Ebola
Since the beginning of the outbreak, not a single tourist has contracted the Ebola virus. This includes many tourists that have been going to the affected countries.
5. You probably don’t eat fruit bats
Scientists have identified fruit bats as the likely vector that spread Ebola to humans. Have you eaten one lately? Probably not. If you do, you should probably stop.
6. Airlines are thoroughly screening passengers
Airlines and airports throughout Africa have been thoroughly screening passengers for body temperature and other signs of illness, since an airline passenger unknowingly brought Ebola from Liberia to Nigeria in July 2014.
7. You aren’t taking care of a family member with Ebola
Many of the people in Africa who contracted Ebola were taking care of family members with the virus, even after they knew they had it. On the odd chance that you are a caretaker of an Ebola patient, stop now and get medical attention.
8. You should be more worried about malaria
There are more areas in Africa where you can catch malaria than Ebola. So seriously, stop thinking about Ebola, and focus on malaria and making sure you have the required medications to prevent it.
9. Let’s face it, you weren’t going to Liberia anyway
Do you know anybody that has been to Liberia except somebody that is from there? Probably not. Not that it is a bad place or isn’t worth checking out (it definitely is), but the nation doesn’t exactly get much tourism.
10. The US, UK and Europe are more likely to have an Ebola case than other African countries
According to this study, the US, UK, and four countries in Europe are more likely to eventually have an Ebola case than non-affected countries in Africa. The data was based on where travelers to the Ebola-hit countries are likely to go next.