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Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Ebola Virus Disease (Update)

Africa > Burkina Faso; Africa > Burkina Faso > Ouagadougou; Africa > Guinea; Africa > Liberia; Africa > Nigeria; Africa > Sierra Leone

The U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso is issuing this message to update U.S. citizens on recent reports of new cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. While there have been no cases of EVD in Burkina Faso, as the number of cases in our region increase, the likelihood increases that EVD cases will be detected in Burkina Faso. The Government of Burkina Faso reports it has developed a response plan should there be any suspected cases.

While Ebola is a dangerous virus, we remind the community that the risk of contracting the infection is minimal if basic precautionary measures are followed. Ebola is not spread by respiratory secretions or casual contact like the flu or the common cold. It requires direct contact with the bodily fluids (especially vomit, blood, and feces) of someone severely ill with—or recently deceased from—the disease, or by handling or eating undercooked, contaminated bush meat, especially bats, monkeys, gorillas, and some antelope. The illness is not contagious from person-to-person until the sick person has symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea. We urge you to wash your hands frequently, protect yourself through proper equipment (including gloves, gowns, masks, and goggles) if you are a healthcare worker, and avoid eating bush meat.  The U.S. Embassy encourages citizens to remain vigilant and practice the basic precautionary measures outlined above. The risk to the general population, and U.S. citizens in particular, remains low.

The U.S. Embassy continues to operate normally and is closely monitoring the situation in collaboration with local, national, and international partners. Our embassies in neighboring countries including Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are collectively tracking the disease and sharing information as it becomes available.

Unfortunately, the healthcare resources in some of the affected regions have been overwhelmed or are unavailable. In communities where isolation centers are available and functioning, the spread of EVD has been largely contained. Especially in remote areas of Sierra Leone and Liberia, there has been community resistance against healthcare workers (and fear of isolation centers) leading to significant spread of the disease.

On July 30, 2014, the U.S. Peace Corps announced that its volunteers would be temporarily withdrawn from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have issued Travel Notices for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, warning against nonessential travel and have provided guidance to reduce the potential for spread of EVD.  To obtain these Travel Health Notices, visit travel.state.gov and the CDC website, or call the CDC at 1-404-639-3534 from overseas or 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States.  For more information on EVD, please visit the CDC's website on the virus.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Burkina Faso enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov.  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Burkina Faso.  For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us onTwitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou is located in Ouaga 2000, Sector 15, on Avenue Sembene Ousmane, southeast of the Monument aux Héros Nationaux. If you are a U.S. citizen in an emergency situation after normal Embassy operating hours, please contact the Embassy’s main number at (+226) 50-49-53-00, dial “1,” and ask to be connected to the duty officer.