Travel advice for people concerned about Ebola virus disease 

The risk of Ebola to the general public in the UK remains very low and there is no increased risk of catching Ebola virus disease from taking public transport.

It’s unlikely Ebola can be passed on by someone coughing or sneezing nearby because Ebola is not a respiratory illness transmitted by virus particles that remain suspended in the air.

What's the advice for travellers in at-risk areas?

Visit the GOV.UK foreign travel advice section, where you can find the latest advice for the country you are travelling to.

Travellers in at-risk areas should follow these simple precautions to minimise their risk of catching Ebola virus disease:

  • Wash hands frequently using soap and water (or alcohol hand rubs, when soap is not available), as this destroys the virus.
  • Make sure fruit and veg is properly washed and peeled before you eat it.
  • Avoid physical contact with anyone who has symptoms.
  • Avoid dense and crowded places where people may be infected.  
  • Don't handle dead animals or their raw meat.
  • Don't eat "bushmeat". 

If you think that you or a family member has symptoms of Ebola infection:

  • visit a healthcare provider immediately and inform them that you may have had contact with the Ebola virus (the nearest Embassy or Consular Office can help you find a provider in the area)
  • limit contact with others and avoid all other travel

It's more likely that the cause is another disease, such as malaria, but you may need to be tested for Ebola as a precaution. 

I may have been on a flight with someone with Ebola. Am I at risk?

You cannot catch Ebola through social contact or by travelling on a plane with someone who is infected, unless you come into direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.

Cabin crew who suspect that a passenger on board could have an infectious disease, as well as ground staff receiving the passenger at the destination, would follow the International Air Transport Association guidelines for suspected communicable diseases (PDF, 37kb).

If there is someone on board a flight who is unwell, the pilot of the aircraft is legally required to inform air traffic control. Arrangements will be made for medical assessments for the person on arrival. The exact arrangements will depend on the airport involved. The local Public Health Team would be alerted if there was a possibility that the individual was suffering from an infectious disease, so that appropriate public health action could be initiated.

Why have they introduced screening at UK airports?

The UK recently introduced screening procedures to the highest-risk UK ports  Heathrow, Gatwick and Eurostar terminals.  

The purpose of screening is to identify and give advice to passengers coming from high-risk areas who will be spending time in the UK.

Read specific FAQs on screening for Ebola at UK airports.

Page last reviewed: 15/10/2014

Next review due: 15/10/2016