The department said the 2014 Ebola outbreak is one of the largest Ebola outbreaks in history and the first in West Africa. It is affecting four countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The virus has also recently spread to Nigeria through a traveling Liberian-American man.
The virus is spread through direct contact with a sick person's blood or body fluids, objects that have been contaminated with infected body fluids and infected animals. Fatality rate can reach 90%, but the current outbreak has mortality rate of about 55%. There is no known cure or vaccine.
The department is closely working with the World Health Organization in screening visitors entering Thailand from outbreak-hit countries. Thai nationals have also been urged to refrain from flying to West Africa until the outbreak is declared over by the WHO.
An infected person's symptoms include fever, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, headache and fatigue which are followed by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Thai people who need to travel to the Ebola-plagued countries are urged to avoid hunting, touching and eating bushmeat such as bats, monkeys and chimpanzees; as scientists believe this is how the virus was first transmitted to humans.