August 8th the World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa an international health emergency and appealed for global aid to help afflicted countries. "A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola," the WHO said in a statement after a two-day meeting of its emergency committee on Ebola. The risk of the virus entering the Netherlands remains small but cannot be ruled out. Vigilance is required with returning visitors from effected countries.

There has been an outbreak of Ebola since February 2014 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. As of 6 August 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the four countries stands at 1779, including 961 deaths (source WHO).

Ebola is a rare and serious infectious disease. It is caused by a virus. Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are typical signs and symptoms. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Ebola probably originated in the rain forest in southeast Guinea, presumably after eating meat from contaminated animals from the jungle. The outbreak then spread via as direct contact with the bodies of the deceased as part of burial ceremonies and via hospitals.


Measures to combat the Ebola virus in West Africa have been intensified as of August 8th. Thus, in the affected countries all outgoing passengers at airports, ports and other border crossings are screened for symptoms. No travel warning has been issued. In the Netherlands, passengers on a direct flight between Nigeria and Amsterdam will be informed about Ebola via a flyer on their departure or arrival at Schiphol airport or on the plane.

Travel recommendations

Preventive measures for travellers to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone:

  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Avoid contact with wild animals (monkeys, bats)
  • Do not eat raw meat or bush meat
  • Follow the usual travel advice and the additional hygiene advice. See http://www.lcr.nl/ (Dutch only)
  • For current travel information see WHO travel advice