Hotels to display warning signs on Ebola virus

Hotels will be asking every tourist on check-in if they came from one of the affected Ebola countries

A poster issued by the PHA and MAHE warning tourists of travel to Ebola-affected regions
A poster issued by the PHA and MAHE warning tourists of travel to Ebola-affected regions

Hoteliers have been instructed to display warning signs in hotel lobbies warning tourists who have been to an Ebola-affected region in Africa over the past three weeks.

The effort comes from an initiative of the public health authorities and the Malta Association of Hospitality Executives.

Hotels will be asking every tourist on check-in if they came from one of the affected Ebola countries: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria (Lagos) and Congo (Boende, Lokolia and Watsi Kengo in Equatur region) within the last 21 days, as Public Health Authorities would like to be informed to provide them with information as to what to do if they fall ill during this 21 day period.

If they answer yes, the receptionist should contact the Public Health Authorities (PHA) immediately while the tourist is in front of them on 21324086 so further instructions are given.

The receptionist should keep a record of these tourists so if they fall ill, they will contact PHA immediately themselves and ask the tourist to remain in their hotel room until further instructions by PHA.

“It is advisable that hotels keep a few thermometers available for the tourists as they will need to monitor their temperature every morning,” the PHA said.

If a tourist collapses in a common area in the hotel, no one should touch the tourist before first asking any person accompanying the ill tourist if travelled to an affected Ebola country within the last 21 days.

“If the answer is ‘Yes’, then no one touches the person, keeps the area clear around the tourist and calls 21324086 and casualty ambulance on 112. If the answer is ‘No’, than the person can be assisted and the hotel doctor can be contacted,” the PHA said.

The same procedure should be applied if a room attendant enters a room and finds a tourist ill. The room attendant must ask any person accompanying the ill tourist the above questions.

“If a staff member touches a possible suspected case of Ebola with bare hands, if confirmed from travel information, they must wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. The same procedure should be followed if a tourist dies in the hotel. Get a travel history first before touching the body. If confirms that is a possible Ebola case, inform Police and PHA on 21324086. Cord off the area where there is the body so no one goes near the body until the PHA arrive,” the PHA said.

FAQ on Ebola

What is Ebola virus disease?

Ebola is a rare severe disease, often fatal, caused by the Ebola virus.

It is transmitted through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids (e.g. saliva, urine) from infected people, alive or dead. This includes unprotected sexual contact with patients up to seven weeks after they have recovered.

You can also catch the disease from direct contact with blood and other bodily  fluids from wild animals, dead or alive, such as monkeys, forest antelopes and bats, or by contact with contaminated objects.

Ebola virus does not transmit through the air or water.

After two days and up to 21 days following exposure to the virus the disease may start suddenly with fever, muscle aches, weakness, headache, sore throat, abdominal pain. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, bruising and in some cases, bleeding.

There is no specific vaccine or treatment for the disease.

Risk of infection with Ebola virus and how to avoid it

Even if you are living in, or have travelled to, affected areas, the risk of infection with Ebola virus is low, unless you have been directly exposed to bodily fluids of a dead or living infected person or animal. Contact with bodily fluids includes unprotected sexual contact with patients up to seven weeks after they have recovered.

Casual contact in public places with people that do not appear to be sick do not transmit Ebola. You cannot contract Ebola virus by handling money, groceries or swimming in a pool. Mosquitoes do not transmit the Ebola virus.

Ebola virus is easily killed by soap, bleach, sunlight, or drying. Machine washing clothes that have been contaminated with fluids will destroy Ebola virus. Ebola virus survives only a short time on surfaces that are in the sun or have dried.

Outbreak in 2014

There is currently an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria (Lagos) and Congo (Boende, Lokolia and Watsi Kengo in Equateur region).

As a precautionary measure to limit possible exposure to affected areas with Ebola, the Public Health Authorities recommend the general public to avoid non-essential travel to the affected West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

If travel to these areas is unavoidable, the following advice is recommended:  

Advice to people returning from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria or Congo

Contact the Public Health Authority on +356 21324086 upon arrival to Malta for further advice and follow-up.

If you develop fever, with/without any associated symptoms (muscle aches, weakness, headaches, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, bruising, bleeding) in the 21 days following your arrival:

Stay at home and do not go to your GP/ Health Centre or to Casualty

Contact the Public Health Authority IMMEDIATELY

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