Florida A&M University Campus Advisory on Ebola
October 24, 2014
In light of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa and recent concerns with Ebola in the US, Florida A&M University would like to ensure that all members of the campus community have information about the disease and have access to the many resources available; including recommendations for travelers and an assessment of risk for individuals here in the United States and on our campuses.
The West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia form the epicenter of the current Ebola outbreak. There have been isolated cases in Nigeria, Senegal and Mali; and there is a separate outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The outbreak in the primary countries began over 8 months ago. In the early stages Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) and other medical missionary organizations were the primary responders. To date the outbreak is unprecedented in the number of cases and has overwhelmed the internal healthcare resources in each of the countries.
To date, the only persons that have become infected with Ebola in the United States are healthcare personnel working with patients diagnosed with Ebola. This is not a disease you can get from casual contact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to update the guidelines for managing Ebola cases here in the US to help protect our medical personnel and to prevent its transmission in the general community.
Over the past month there has been a massive surge of worldwide support to help bring the outbreak under control, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) leading with guidelines and protocols for the response.
What Is Ebola?
Ebola is caused by a virus. Infection with the Ebola virus may result in a serious and sometimes fatal disease. Ebola typically occurs in west and central African countries. The virus is believed to be carried by fruit bats.
What are the Symptoms of Ebola?
If infected with Ebola, symptoms may appear between 2 and 21 days. Early symptoms may include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness and a sore throat. More serious symptoms that occur later may include vomiting, diarrhea, rash, bruising and bleeding from the eyes, nose and mouth.
How Does Ebola Spread?
Ebola is spread through contact with body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola. The infectious body fluids include; blood, vomit, feces, sweat, semen, breast milk, saliva and other fluids. You may also become infected through contact with needles or other objects contaminated with infected secretions. Many individuals become infected by caring for family members who are sick with Ebola, when they come in contact with their blood, body fluids or other secretions. Ebola is not spread through air, water or food. You can only get Ebola through contact with body fluids from a person who is infected with Ebola and is showing signs of the disease.
Should I Travel to Ebola Outbreak Countries?
Currently, the CDC has a Level 3 Travel Warning for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. This travel warning advises against any nonessential travel. There is a Level 2 Travel Advisory for the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Level 2 Alert informs travelers to take precautions that include; avoiding contact with persons that may be ill with Ebola, avoiding funerals for persons with Ebola, and avoiding hospitals that are treating Ebola patients.
What if I Have Been To A Country with Ebola Cases or Think I Have Been Exposed?
Many countries and airlines have implemented screening for travelers coming from one of the affected countries. The screening may include a questionnaire of recent travel and association with individuals that may be sick or ill and a temperature check. The US has implemented a program to screen passengers on incoming airlines that are coming from the affected countries.
If you have been to an area where there are Ebola cases, we ask that you do the following before returning to campus for school or work:
- Contact one of the health care facilities listed below to assess your risk of exposure
FAMU Student Health Services (850) 599-3777
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (850) 431-6152
Leon County Health Department (850) 606-8125
- For 21 days after you return, monitor your temperature twice a day and immediately report any symptoms and travel history to your healthcare provider. It is important that you call your healthcare provider if you have symptoms before you go to their office to prevent potential transmission to others.
Where Can I Find More Information?
· The White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/16/fact-sheet-us-response-ebola-epidemic-west-africa