Two experts – Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo and Fernando Simón – talk in this video about how to prevent infection, what precautions should be taken when travelling to a country at risk and how long you need to wait before you can be absolutely sure you have not contracted the disease.
HOW CAN INFECTION BE PREVENTED?
FERNANDO RODRÍGUEZ ARTALEJO: Given that the risk is extraordinarily low, you need not change anything in your ordinary daily life. However, it is recommendable to wash your hands several times a day to prevent any health problem, not just Ebola.
FERNANDO SIMÓN: Anyone with a fever or any other symptoms should obviously take care not to cough in public. If they have to stay at home because the severity of their fever means they cannot leave, they should notify their doctor so a home assessment can be made… But, in principle, the probability of catching this disease in Spain is very, very low.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN WHEN TRAVELLING TO A COUNTRY AT RISK?
FERNANDO RODRÍGUEZ ARTALEJO: People should know that the vast majority of the population in those countries where an outbreak has already occurred – Sierra Leone, for example – are healthy and asymptomatic, meaning they cannot transmit the disease. Therefore, the risk is very low even for those who travel to these countries from abroad.
FERNANDO SIMÓN: When someone travels to one of these countries, they obviously need to be careful when coming into contact with sick people who may have symptoms of this disease. That is the first point.
FERNANDO RODRÍGUEZ ARTALEJO: As is the case for other countries that have no noticeable risk, the sensible thing is to wash your hands frequently and eat food that has been subject to certain health checks.
FERNANDO SIMÓN: The group at risk that should indeed be concerned and take extreme care in correctly applying the appropriate protection measures are those healthcare professionals who travel to help combat the epidemic.
HOW LONG DO I NEED TO WAIT BEFORE KNOWING FOR SURE THAT I HAVE NOT CONTRACTED THE DISEASE?
FERNANDO SIMÓN: If someone returns after spending several days there and develops no symptoms after 21 days from the last moment of exposure, it is safe to say they have not contracted the disease.
FERNANDO RODRÍGUEZ ARTALEJO: Almost nobody returning from these countries will have contracted the disease, meaning there is nothing in particular to be expected. However, if there is any suspicion of possible contact with someone capable of transmitting the disease, we should wait 21 days before giving the ‘all clear’ as that is the maximum incubation period. If they do not develop the disease within that time, we can be sure they are not going to.