Has anyone's company issued a policy regarding Ebola yet? Specifically, I am interested to learn what type of travel restrictions might be applied, and if there could be any potential blood testing or quarantining for employees returning from hot-zones.

  • I would think very few companies would have the resources to gather the necessary information and determine appropriate actions. That sort of determination is best left to government agencies such as the State Department (in the US) and their equivalents in other countries. Looking at the press photos of arrival screenings, it seems even the US Customs service lacks a basic understanding of this disease. They are wearing filter masks and short sleeved shirts for "protection" against a contact-transmitted disease. Face shields and long-sleeved shirts would be how to start. – Wesley Long Oct 13 '14 at 21:11
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    This is not a disease you should worried about. Now Flu is something you should worry about. It kills 10 times the number of people every year (49,000) compared to ebola total ever killed (4,000). – Martin York Oct 13 '14 at 22:13
  • How is this on topic? It's very broad and very time-sensitive, as well as mostly hypothetical. – Móż Oct 13 '14 at 23:30
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  • @LokiAstari While these numbers may be true you must understand that the flu has been around for a long time, Ebola's spread is just getting started. What you should be comparing them with is the statistics of infection when in contact with a diseased individual. – Jonast92 Oct 14 '14 at 18:18

Most companies

No, while the Ebola epidemic is a noteworthy tragedy on a grand scale it's tiny to a point of near insignificance. (unless you live or work in the afflicted places)

Some companies

EDIT: In was noted some companies do infact have these policies in place in the US as the US has not put in place a ban on travel to the affected areas. Based on what I've found such policies are pretty straight forward. "Employees of [Redacted] are not permitted to travel to or through [List of places] for personal or business reasons." ... "Failure to comply will result in immediate termination and litigation where necessary"

AKA if you so much have a layover in an affected region, we'll fire you and turn you over to the police if travel restrictions are in affect.


Many countries such as the UK have already put in place limitations for people traveling from countries currently afflicted by ebola. Since your company policy cannot conflict with law if your company is affected then they already have the government enforcing what they effectively wouldn't be able to enforce anyways.

Other countries are permitting travel with a 3 week quarantine or blood screening post travel (basically you are held somewhere where if you were infected you'd show symptoms or they do blood work to check for the virus, failing lands you in quarantine until you either no longer contagious or you die.)

How bad is this really?

Well Ebola is no joke, it's a wretchedly terrible way to die and kills between 25 and 90% of the people it infects. On the other hand it's only been confirmed to transfer through biological fluids and cannot survive outside the body for very long.

If Ebola got out into the world at large it would be a tragedy, but is expected even worst case to kill less people than influenza annually. Partly because Ebola is terrifying and kills most people (taken seriously), while the flu is considered "really annoying" to most people and people don't take it as seriously going out and about to work, school, etc when they know they are sick.

Edit: updated fatality rate per better resource than I originally quoted.

  • Interesting take, but I submit that you're a little bit off base. For instance, despite the US's still failure to ban travel, at least one company has made headline news for doing so, Exxon (cnbc.com/id/102053701#.) Unfortunately, I do not work for Exxon and accordingly cannot see the way they implemented this policy. If anyone could provide a real example of another company's ebola policy (or Exxon's!) that would be perfect. – user28691 Oct 13 '14 at 20:47
  • Good find! I stand corrected. Yeah, I think in the US we really need to at least get the quarantine in place. I think they'll take it way more seriously now that we had a close call here. – Eric J Fisher Oct 13 '14 at 20:54
  • FYI WHO says survival average is 50% not 80-90%. – mkennedy Oct 13 '14 at 22:00
  • @LokiAstari Again, WHO says OVERALL the death rate is around 50%, not only for this outbreak. Previous rates have ranged from 25% - 90%. – mkennedy Oct 13 '14 at 22:20
  • @mkennedy: OK. Ill trust WHO over me. – Martin York Oct 13 '14 at 22:22

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