by Terrance Rey

I am not a medical expert of any kind. I am hardly a travel expert as there are many more people who have traveled more than I have in my entire lifetime. I am however a travel sales consultant and many of you are clients of mines in one form or the other and therefore I feel compelled to write about dealing with the threat of ebola when traveling as I will undoubtedly get questioned about this as more travel warnings are being issued in regards to curtailing the spread of the ebola virus.

For a detailed description of the Ebola virus and a clinical analysis of the Ebola virus as a disease you can visit the Wikipedia webpage on the Ebola virus disease. Important is to note that… “The virus is acquired by contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected human or [..] animal. This may also occur by direct contact with a recently contaminated item. Spread through the air has not been documented in the natural environment.”

The chances of you contracting the Ebola virus is infinitely smaller than the chances of you getting run over by a car while crossing the street. With that being said, it does not mean that I don’t think you should not be careful about contracting this disease, especially if you are traveling in general or traveling specifically to a region affected by the Ebola virus. It pays to be careful and it pays to be aware of your surroundings and to take adequate measures to limit your chances to exposure in whatever form that may be prevalent at your travel destination.

But I certainly would not advise to actively participate in nor perpetuate the mass hysteria that is currently spreading around the globe into certain countries like a virus on to itself. Over the years we have had all kinds of diseases spread faster via word of mouth, the media and through the world wide web, from the Mad Cow Disease to SARS to Chikungunya and now Ebola.

The fact of the matter is that – whether we are traveling or not – we all should remain calm and be rational about this virus and the disease it causes. Adding fuel to the flames of mass hysteria will not help anyone and it certainly will not bring aid any quicker to those who need it most of all. The last thing we need is an isolationist movement that in my opinion will only lead to a quicker spread of the virus and the disease. Aid workers and medical people must be afforded the time to work diligently in peace, with focus and energy in combating the disease and the unbridled spread of the virus. What we are presently seeing in the mass media is simply a distraction from the real issue. And that is that, much like Polio in its heyday, Ebola is another virus for which I am certain a vaccine can be developed – if not already – and effectively deployed to stop the spread of this virus dead in its tracks…. if we just stay calm!

So how do we deal with the threat of Ebola when traveling? My answer is simply to go about your everyday business and plan your travels according to your needs. Be mindful of the places you travel to and pay attention to your surroundings, your personal hygiene, and that of others, and most of all, stay healthy!