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Ebola and Morocco

Greetings all Morocco-bound (and Africa-bound) travelers.

At the risk of opening a veritable can of worms, I just thought I'd lay bare some thoughts regarding the current outbreak of the ebola virus in some West African countries, in relation to traveling to Morocco.

While admitting to being a confessed Africaphile yet understanding my fellow travelers' concerns and how frightening it must seem in the living rooms of the 'developed' world, I think it's worth noting that:

- so far there have been no cases of ebola reported in Morocco. A suspected case of ebola was later found to be incorrect;

- the main form of transport between West Africa and Morocco is by air, and passengers traveling these routes are being screened at both the departure and arrival airports...the Moroccan health authorities are vigorously screening all air arrivals from West Africa;

- the other form of transport between West Africa and Morocco is by road, a journey travelling through Saharan-fringed territory that would prove too long and arduous for any infected person. It is 2,360 miles from Conakry (Guinea) to Casablanca (roughly New York to Los Angeles or Sydney to Perth), with Senegal and Mauritania in between. Senegal has closed its southern borders and no cases of ebola have been reported in either Senegal or Mauritania (an infected Senegalese health worker that was recently air-lifted to Germany was infected in Sierra Leone while working for the WHO);

- the U.S. government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently advises no Travel Health Notices for Morocco;

- Ebola is spread by human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. It is not an 'air-borne' virus. Yes, ebola is a tragic disaster but it isn't going to take over the entire continent of Africa (nor America or anywhere else...this is not a Hollywood script). Footnote - a current outbreak of ebola in the D.R. of Congo is a separate outbreak and is not connected to that in West Africa.

This opinion piece by Brent Meersman - http://thisisafrica.me/politics-ebola/ - mirrors some of my thoughts regarding African stereotypes, though I understand that the news agencies have to sell their stories. I guess I'd just like to remind the world that Africa is NOT a country, so please don't judge the whole continent on what happens in individual countries, look beyond the sensationalist news...and keep coming to Morocco!

Your fellow traveler, Darren Humphrys

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