Addressing Concerns of Ebola in West Africa

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is on all of our minds as it continues to permeate the media and tragically affect several West African countries. Our hearts and deepest sympathy are with those communities struggling with the outbreak.

At this point in time, we will be continuing to run our East Africa program this spring. Due to the geographic location of our program, the limited air traffic between East and West Africa, and the East African community’s proactive response to outbreaks historically and presently, we can continue to offer this program with confidence.

The sheer amount of distance between East and West Africa is in our favor. The heart of the outbreak in Liberia is about 5,000 miles from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania – that is more distance than lies between Orlando, FL and Anchorage, Alaska. And while we know from recent events that Ebola can hop oceans, there is a limited amount of air traffic between East Africa and West Africa. This study pointed out that more than twice as many people fly from West Africa to the United States than fly from West Africa to East Africa on a weekly basis.

As of now, there have been no reported cases of Ebola in Uganda, Tanzania, or Rwanda during this outbreak. Rwanda and Tanzania have never had a reported case of Ebola, and Uganda’s rapid and effective response to past Ebola outbreaks has been a model for other countries. The East African countries we travel through have tightened their airport screening for travelers from Ebola-affected countries and have isolation wards prepared to handle an incident should it occur.

We receive daily updates from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S embassies in each of the countries, twice-daily updates from the Overseas Security and Advisories Council (OSAC), and we are in frequent communication with our on-the ground contacts. If there is a health or safety concern in any of the countries we go to, Ebola related or otherwise, these sources are the first to put out warnings and Carpe Diem will respond to it in a timely and appropriate manner, whether that means re-routing an itinerary, canceling the trip, or simply being aware of the situation.

We hope the international community will step up to provide resources to assist the Ebola outbreak and help alleviate the suffering of those affected. While we plan on continuing to run this program, we understand that this is a difficult choice for many families out there. It is our hope to provide as much information as possible to assist you in making this decision.

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to how we are responding to the Ebola outbreak, or would like to discuss any other matters please do not hesitate to call.

Recommended Readings and Additional Resources:

Advice for Colleges, Universities and Students About Ebola in West Africa – Center for Disease Control

You Won’t Catch Ebola from a Giraffe in Tanzania – National Public Radio

Ebola Outbreak: What Uganda Can Teach West Africa – BBC News

The Africa Without Ebola – The Washington Post

Representation by Kai Krause
Representation by Kai Krause