Ebola fact sheet
The largest recorded outbreak of Ebola began in west Africa in December 2013.
By 21 November 2014 the outbreak was affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali, and had caused over 15,000 cases, including over 5,400 deaths.
Related small outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria have been declared over. A separate outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo was declared over on 21 November 2014.
Ebola is a big medical and social challenge in these countries.
The World Health Organization, international governments and non-government organisations are undertaking intense efforts to control Ebola in west Africa.
While a number of people already ill with Ebola have been transported out of west Africa to receive medical care, only two people have left Africa well and been diagnosed with Ebola in another country.
There have been no people diagnosed with Ebola in Australia.
While the outbreak continues, there remains a very small risk that a person from one of these west African countries may travel to Australia and become sick with Ebola.
To protect the public, the following national border and Tasmanian public health measures are now in place.
- Travellers from Ebola-affected countries
- are identified by Customs at the Australian border at international airports, and
- Quarantine Officers check their health and ask them about exposure to Ebola.
- Travellers from Ebola-affected countries who are ill as they arrive
- will be transferred safely to the state Quarantine Hospital for further assessment, and
- will not be allowed to travel on to Tasmania from their mainland airport of arrival.
- Travellers from Ebola-affected countries who have had contact with Ebola cases, but who are well (such as returning humanitarian workers), will typically be able to travel on to Tasmania. State public health agencies will arrange monitoring of their health for 21 days after leaving an Ebola-affected country.
- Travellers from Ebola-affected countries who have had no contact with Ebola cases, and who are well, are provided with an "Ebola Card" which includes a national 24 hour health hotline number. Their health may also be monitored by public health agencies.
- Monitoring and supporting persons returned from Ebola-affected countries ensures that if they become ill, they can be promptly identified and safely transported to and managed in a designated Quarantine Hospital (in Tasmania, the Royal Hobart Hospital).
The Tasmanian health system is well prepared to identify and safely manage such a person, to protect their health, Tasmanian healthcare workers and the Tasmanian community.
Ebola information for health professionals
The largest recorded outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) began in West Africa in December 2013.
While the outbreak continues there remains a small risk that a person infected in one of these west African countries may travel to Australia while incubating Ebola.
The incubation period for Ebola (the time from exposure to infection to first becoming ill) is typically eight to 10 days but can be up to 21 days.
It is therefore possible that a person could return from an Ebola-affected country, become ill some days later, and then seek care.
A person infected with Ebola is not infectious until they develop symptoms of the disease.
The transmission risk from a patient with Ebola in the early stages of disease with limited symptoms is much lower than a patient with severe disease.