Many of today’s seafarers come from countries where healthcare facilities are limited and may be unable to handle an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease, which has already killed almost 900 people in West Africa. Three global shipping organisations have expressed concern about the potential exposure of ship’s crews to the disease and have issued joint guidelines to their members on the risks posed in countries affected by the Ebola virus.
Ebola emerged in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The present outbreak has struck Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There is no cure and treatment largely consists of mitigating he symptoms (See graphic). Nine out of ten people infected die.