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Uganda Ebola outbreak – U.S. Precautionary Response

Date: October 11, 2022

As Flight Attendants and Safety Professionals, we come in contact with hundreds of thousands of passengers who travel all across the world. Over the course of our flying careers, especially during the last two years, our training and expertise have helped guide us through situations involving communicable diseases such as Ebola, COVID and Monkeypox.

While following standard operating procedures outlined in our LINKS under the First Aid chapter, we are provided with the necessary information about the tools available to protect ourselves while we are onboard the aircraft. While we manage our best to keep our flying partners and our passengers safe through these precautionary steps, we can also stay informed through the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Most recently we have been informed by the CDC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) there is currently and outbreak of Ebola in Uganda. Screening will begin Tuesday, October 11, 2022. The screening will be for all passengers who have been in Uganda in the preceding twenty-one days as that is the incubation period for Ebola.

All crewmembers, including those flights carrying only cargo are excluded from the screening processes.

United is working with the CDC and CBP to identify passengers who have been in Uganda in the past twenty-one days and route them through one of five airports where the screening will take place- EWR, IAD, ORD, JFK, and ATL.

Here are some Facts about Ebola directly from the CDC

  • What is Ebola?

Ebola virus disease (also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) is a rare and deadly disease that periodically causes outbreaks in several African countries. It is spread by contact with blood or body fluids of a person infected with Ebola virus. It is also spread by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising. The death rate for Ebola virus disease ranges from 25% to 90%.

  • The Ministry of Health of Uganda has declared an Ebola outbreak in several districts in Uganda (see map). Avoid non-essential travel to these regions.

  • This outbreak has been linked to the Sudan ebolavirus. No vaccines or therapeutics have been approved for prevention or treatment of the Sudan ebolavirus.

  • Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and avoid contact with blood or body fluids from all people.

  • Travelers should avoid contact with dead bodies, including participating in funeral or burial rituals.

  • Travelers should isolate immediately and seek medical care if they develop signs and symptoms like fever, muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising during or for up to 21 days after travel. Travelers who develop symptoms after arriving in the United States should follow additional recommendations.

  • Organizations sending US-based healthcare or emergency response workers to the outbreak area should follow CDC recommendations to ensure their workers are healthy when they return to the United States.

  • CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with local health authorities to identify sources of transmission, conduct case investigations, and strengthen local laboratory capacity.

Cases so far have only been reported in Uganda and the risk for Ebola in the U.S. is extremely low. These measures, put into place out of the abundance of caution are to alert us to the need to practice enhanced precautions.

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