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Ebola in West Africa

Ebola in West Africa is a major crisis, and many Ohio University students, parents, faculty and staff have questions about the situation. We have created this site to provide information on the disease, the crisis, and efforts around the world to control the situation.

For additional information, please visit the Ohio University Health Alerts website at http://www.ohio.edu/healthalerts/ or the City of Athens website at http://www.ci.athens.oh.us/

About Ebola

Facts about Ebola from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  1. You cannot get Ebola through the air.
  2. You cannot get Ebola through the water.
  3. You cannot get Ebola through food (except bushmeat).

You can only get Ebola by:

  • Touching the blood or the bodily fluids of a person who is sick from Ebola or has died from Ebola.
  • Touching items such as needles that have been contaminated.
  • Touching animals (or their body fluids) that have been infected with Ebola.

A person with Ebola CANNOT spread the disease until the symptoms appear.

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease caused by the Ebola virus. Symptoms appear within 21 days of exposure. People exposed to Ebola are not contagious unless they have symptoms of Ebola. These symptoms include fever (higher than 100.4 F), headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, unexplained bleeding or bruising.

A person infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until the symptoms appear.

Is there a danger of Ebola spreading in the U.S.?

Ebola is not spread through casual contact; therefore, the risk of an outbreak in the U.S. is very low. We know how to stop Ebola’s further spread: thorough case finding, isolation of ill people, contacting people exposed to the ill individual(s), and further isolation of contacts if they develop symptoms. The U.S. public health and medical systems have had prior experience with sporadic cases of diseases such as Ebola. In the past decade, the United States had 5 imported cases of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) diseases similar to Ebola (1 Marburg, 4 Lassa). None resulted in any transmission in the United States. (This is from the Center for Disease Control)

For more information from the CDC about Ebola, follow these links:

For information from the World Health Organization about Ebola, click here:

West Africa

The main areas affected by Ebola are Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. The World Health Organization officially declared Senegal and Nigeria free of Ebola virus transmission on October 17th and 20th, respectively.

The situation in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia remains very serious.

However, Africa is a massive continent and it is important to understand that most places in Africa are not impacted. Here is a map that shows where the Ebola outbreak is in Africa. Here is the link to an artice in The Washington Post that explains more about the map: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/11/03/map-the-africa-without-ebola/

Map of Africa with the affected regions highlighted.

And here is a map by Kai Krause that provides more context on just how large Africa is. Many people do not realize it, but the continent is so large that the United States, China, India, Europe and Japan could all fit inside of Africa.

Size comparison of Africa map. Click for full-size version »

The CDC has issued a Warning, Level 3 travel notice for U.S. citizens to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. For more information on the CDC Advisory, click here: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html

Facts about Liberia

From the BBC ( http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13729505 )

  • Full name : Republic of Liberia
  • Population : 4.2 million (UN, 2012)
  • Capital : Monrovia
  • Area : 99,067 sq km (38,250 sq miles)
  • Languages : English, 29 African languages belonging to the Mande, Kwa or Mel linguistic groups
  • Major religions : Christianity, Islam, indigenous beliefs
  • Monetary unit : 1 Liberian dollar (L$) = 100 cents
  • Main exports : Diamonds, iron ore, rubber, timber, coffee, cocoa
  • GNI per capita : US $330 (World Bank, 2011)

Facts about Guinea

From the BBC ( http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13442052 )

  • Full name : The Republic of Guinea
  • Population : 10.5 million (UN, 2012)
  • Capital : Conakry
  • Area : 245,857 sq km (94,926 sq miles)
  • Languages : French, Susu, Fulani, Mandingo
  • Major religions : Islam, Christianity, indigenous beliefs
  • Monetary unit : 1 Guinean franc = 100 centimes
  • Main exports : Bauxite, alumina, gold, diamonds, coffee, fish, agricultural products
  • GNI per capita : US $430 (World Bank, 2011)

Facts about Sierra Leone

From the BBC ( http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14094377 )

  • Full name : Republic of Sierra Leone
  • Population : 6.1 million (UN, 2012)
  • Capital : Freetown
  • Area : 71,740 sq km (27,699 sq miles)
  • Languages : English, Krio (Creole language derived from English) and a range of African languages
  • Major religions : Islam, Christianity
  • Monetary unit : Leone
  • Main exports : Diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
  • GNI per capita : US $460 (World Bank, 2011)

Facts about Africa

Information about Africa, from the World Atlas :

  • Africa, the planet's 2nd largest continent and the second most-populous continent (after Asia) includes (54) individual countries, and Western Sahara, a member state of the African Union whose statehood is disputed by Morocco. Note that South Sudan is the continent's newest country.
  • With a 2011 population of 1,032,532,974, it accounts for just over 14% of the world's human population. It also contains the Nile River system, the world's longest, and the massive Sahara Desert, the worlds largest.
  • Africa is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the east and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
  • Major Languages : By most estimates, well over a thousand languages are spoken in Africa. Most are of African origin, though some are of European or Asian origin. Africa is the most multilingual continent in the world, and it is not rare for individuals to fluently speak not only multiple African languages, but one or more European ones as well.
  • Population : 1,032,532,974 (2011 estimate)
    Africa is the second most populous continent, after Asia.
  • Population Density : 30.5 per sq km (80 per sq mi)

Largest African Countries by Population (2012 UN Estimates)

  • Nigeria : 166,629,000
  • Ethiopia : 86,539,000
  • Egypt : 83,958,000
  • Congo, DRC : 69,575,000
  • South Africa : 50,738,000
  • Tanzania : 47,656,000
  • Sudan : 45,722,000
  • Kenya : 42,749,000
  • Algeria : 36,486,000
  • Uganda : 35,621,000
  • Morocco : 32,599,000
  • Ghana : 25,546,000
  • Mozambique : 24,475,000
  • Cote d'Ivoire : 20,595,000
  • Cameroon : 20,469,000
  • Angola : 20,163,000

What OHIO Faculty, Staff, Students and Parents Should Know

OHIO students are not currently at any risk of contracting Ebola on the OHIO campus.

OHIO has a plan in place to deal with Ebola, just as it has plans in place to deal with other diseases and possible emergency situations.

OHIO is providing information on Ebola to OHIO students, faculty and staff, just as it provides information on other health warnings to students, faculty and staff as needed.

"Letter to all OHIO students interested in Studying Abroad": Click Here to Open (253kb pdf)

OHIO students are much more likely to catch the flu than they are to catch Ebola. All Americans are encouraged by the CDC to get a seasonal flu vaccine each year.

The CDC has information for all Americans on how to prevent the flu. For the CDC tips and more information, click here: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm

For additional information, as well as information on flu shots in Athens County, please visit the Athens City/County Health Department website at http://www.health.athens.oh.us/influenza_information.html

For additional information, please visit the Ohio University Health Alerts page for the flu at http://www.ohio.edu/healthalerts/flu/

The Ebola Campaign

Students from several groups on campus have come together to form The Ebola Campaign.

Currently, the campus organizations involved are the Global Leadership Center, the African Student Association, Global Studies, and English Language Improvement Program. These groups are working together to support Doctors Without Borders.

“As a university with an active and concerned student and faculty population, we feel strongly that we have a responsibility to respond to the current Ebola pandemic.”

The Ebola Campaign is expected to consist of various activities including educational events/ presentations, student/ community involvement, as well as fundraising events throughout this academic year. The organization is hoping to not only to raise support and awareness about this terrible pandemic, but also to provide aid to the international workers that have volunteered and put their lives on the line to help stop the spread of Ebola.

Updates and Links on Ebola and West Africa


News about Vaccines

WHO's Response to Ebola

New York Times: Facts About Ebola



Updates: October 28, 2014

Contact the Ebola Campaign

More detailed contact information is coming soon. For now, please direct all communication to the following address:





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