Ebola Outbreak in West Africa – Update

Holding Statement 
Ebola Outbreak in West Africa – Update 
By Wilderness Safaris:

1 October 2014Wilderness Safaris has noted the concerns expressed by a number of our travel partners and guests over the current outbreak of Ebola in the following West African countries – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. We are also aware that there has been a minor outbreak in a very remote area of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (not the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) where Odzala is situated). This is not related to the West African outbreak and the DRC authorities have dealt with it quickly and effectively, due to their experience in handling any outbreaks in the past.

As a precautionary measure, the respective Ministries of Health of Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Zambia have issued travel entry restrictions on anyone who has recently spent time in one of the countries affected by the outbreak – whether visitors or returning residents. Entry and exit medical screening is in place in a number of countries, and travellers should allow for additional time accordingly. Zimbabwe has not introduced any travel restrictions, however, they are monitoring all travellers from the affected countries. Visitors to South Africa are required to complete a Traveller Health Questionnaire for the Department of Health on arrival.

Wilderness Safaris wishes to reassure all our travel partners and guests that during the current outbreaks there have been no cases of Ebola in any of the African countries in which we operate, namely Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Of these countries, Republic of Congo is the only one where Ebola has ever been recorded and the last such case was nine years ago in 2005. Since then, health authorities in the Republic of Congo have had ongoing early detection programmes in place in northern Congo.

The current outbreaks are still a long way from any of the countries in which we operate, for example Sierra Leone is 5 241 km (3 257 miles) away from Botswana (the distance between New York and Seattle is 2 852 miles). The very minor outbreak in DRC is in a remote area from which it is extremely unlikely that Ebola would spread to neighbouring countries. While it is possible that occasional cases may occur in other areas, quarantine and containment plans are in place at all major airports to combat this immediately.

Ebola can only be contracted through extremely close contact with the body fluids of an infected person or animal so it is very difficult to foresee any circumstances in which our guests would be at any risk. Please note that at present we do not consider there to be any risk to Wilderness Safaris guests and staff, due to the distances involved, the security measures in place and the means by which Ebola is spread. We will continue to operate as normal whilst monitoring the situation very closely as the health and safety of all our guests and staff members remains our utmost priority.

For more information, contact Africa Discovery at:
1 800 886-7321, (415) 444-5100
or Email us