To cancel my holiday due to Ebola epidemic

(90 Posts)
salonebabe Sat 19-Jul-14 20:40:06

I'm going to Sierra Leone in a few weeks time, but I'm getting extremely anxious about the Ebola epidemic (http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/jul/17/ebola-sierra-leone-epidemic).

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice is still that there is minimal risk to tourists. Maybe I am worrying needlessly, but I suspect the problem is far worse than the official WHO figures are suggesting. I also don't think the FCO appreciate the realities of travel within Sierra Leone - jam packed buses, ferries and taxis etc. Unless the FCO issue a 'don't travel' advisory, I'll be unable to cancel and claim on my travel insurance.

I've been looking forward to this trip for a long time, so really don't want to cancel. I also can't afford to lose the money already spent on flights and accommodation.

Are there any medical experts here who could help me decide whether I should cancel or not? I appreciate that I, like most people, am not very good at assessing risk objectively, and I don't feel that I have enough information to make an informed decision. If a doctor on these forums was to say that they would have no problem travelling, or the converse, then that would help me make my decision.

Sleepswithbutterflies Sat 19-Jul-14 20:41:46

Well I wouldn't go.
But I wouldn't go to Sierra Leone anyway.

Are you travelling alone?

Downamongtherednecks Sat 19-Jul-14 20:47:30

I travel often to hostile environments. I usually email/call the actual local British embassy/consulate since the FCO advice is too general and not updated often enough. Also, if there is a WHO mission there or MSF, they could advise you. Re disease, it usually breaks down into City- okay with precautions. Countryside - too dangerous.

AuntieStella Sat 19-Jul-14 20:48:05

You would have no way of knowing whether a poster was a doctor or not.

Mama1980 Sat 19-Jul-14 20:53:07

Pre dc I used to travel to some risky areas, I second the earlier advice here of calling the actual local British embassy, they are in a much better position to give you the most up to date information. In a city you may well be ok, miles off the beaten track, likely to be more risky.
Oh and check your travel insurance some policies are invalidated if you travel against current FO travel advice.

ikeaismylocal Sat 19-Jul-14 20:53:33

I'm not a Dr, not even a medical professional but my lay person's opinion is why on earth would you risk going? You wouldn't just be risking your own life but you'd be risking infecting your loved ones and your wider community.

angelohsodelight Sat 19-Jul-14 21:04:18

Sierra Leone for a holiday? Really?

thegreylady Sat 19-Jul-14 21:12:11

I used to live in Sierra Leone and there were frequent epidemics of one sort and another which we avoided. If you go make sure you have all your vaccinations stay away from crowds especially in poor areas and use lots of antibacterial gel and wipes. You should be fine in hotels etc. Are you staying in Freetown or going up country? Make sure you know where the hot spots are for Ebola and avoid them.
It is a beautiful country with wonderful people but you will encounter poverty beyond your worst nightmares, starving children, beggars in the gutter limbless and in rags, mangy dogs and vultures feeding in open sewers.
Of course you can just stay on the beach under the palm trees and swim in the clearest seas. I left in 1972 and there have been at least two civil wars since then. I have never been back.

Coconutty Sat 19-Jul-14 21:13:29

Why are you going there?

numptieseverywhere Sat 19-Jul-14 21:18:02

Why the hell Sierra Leone and why do you go on holiday to 'conflict zones'?????

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Sat 19-Jul-14 21:18:24

I would not risk it. I would be constantly concerned about catching Ebola and it would not make for much of a get away at all.
Plus think of the fact that if you did catch it you may well bring it back to the UK with you and put others at risk.

But then I am a worrier.

Have you actually contacted your insurance company? I think maybe with the risk of Ebola, they would possibly allow refund instead of risking having to pay for the extensive medical treatment you would need if you caught it?

SaggyAndLucy Sat 19-Jul-14 23:28:26

"holiday"? "Sierra Leone"? are you mad? confused

BlinkAndMiss Sat 19-Jul-14 23:33:40

Don't go - why would you when there is even the slightest risk of Ebola??? I wouldn't visit there in a million years but I'm not going to judge your choice of destination, there are plenty of reasons to visit there but the mere mention of Ebola would be reason enough not to go.

If you have to ask...

Hadn't realised the outbreak was ongoing, it's been a long one this time.

ChuffMuffin Sat 19-Jul-14 23:40:21

Maybe op is originally from Sierra Leone?

But no, I wouldn't go.

bookishandblondish Sat 19-Jul-14 23:44:05

Where in Sierra Leone were you planning to go?

Namechangearoonie123 Sat 19-Jul-14 23:51:31

Cornwalls nice this time of year

Any time of year

beijaflor Sat 19-Jul-14 23:53:02

Try the Hospital for Tropical Medicine: www.thehtd.org/

Also call the consulate in Sierra Leone for local advice.

If you can get a few informed opinions, you can make a good decision.

Blondieminx Sat 19-Jul-14 23:53:30
Waltonswatcher Sat 19-Jul-14 23:54:31

I'm for Cornwall .
Desperate to know why Sierra Leone op?

notapizzaeater Sat 19-Jul-14 23:55:58

Have you spoken to your insurance - they might just refund you

Blondieminx Sat 19-Jul-14 23:56:08

Dunno what happened to my links confused, let me try again!

WHO factsheet

BBC Article

beijaflor Sun 20-Jul-14 00:03:36

Don't make your decision based on MNers who are recommending Cornwall in place of Sierra Leone! Also lovely, true, but really really not the same thing at all. smile

"Advice for travellers
The World Health Organization does not recommend any travel restrictions to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone at this time [2,9]. There has never been a case of EVD imported into the United Kingdom [10].
Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to tourists, visitors or expatriate residents in affected areas is considered very low if elementary precautions are followed [11]."

This from the National Travel Health Centre and Network www.nathnac.org/ and there's lots of up-to-date info on there about it. It said that as of yesterday there had been 397 cases and 197 deaths due to Ebola.

trufflehunterthebadger Sun 20-Jul-14 00:11:10

Maybe OP is going on a working holiday doing voluntary work. Maybe she has family there. Or maybe she just likes visiting unusual countries.

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