Important Health Information and International Travel Update
FAMU Student Health Services
August 7, 2014
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization are maintaining a close watch on the 2014 outbreak of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in several west African countries. On July 31st, the CDC raised its travel notice to Level 3 – recommending that people avoid all nonessential travel to the countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. On August 5th, a Level 2 Travel Alert for Nigeria (Practice Enhanced Precautions – avoid contact with blood or body fluids from people that may be ill with Ebola) was posted. The CDC has activated its Emergency Operations Center to help respond to this outbreak. Affected countries have also implemented screening procedures for persons traveling by air to help prevent the spread of this disease.
This information is issued as guidance for all University staff, faculty and students as we end our summer schedules and prepare for the coming fall semester. Please observe the CDC guidance on travel. We will provide updates if there are significant changes in the situation that may impact the University’s business and activities. The following information is from the CDC and the International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers.
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF), also known as Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), is a highly contagious infection caused by a virus believed to be carried by fruit bats. Ebola typically occurs in west and central African countries. The countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are currently experiencing a serious outbreak that is not under control. Persons caring for the sick and healthcare workers are at greatest risk, especially if there are inadequate supplies of protective equipment or improper disposal of infected materials.
When an infection does occur in humans, there are several ways in which the virus can be transmitted to others. These include:
• direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person
• exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions
The viruses that cause Ebola HF are often spread through families and friends because they come in close contact with infectious secretions when caring for ill persons.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola virus though 8-10 days is most common. Some who become sick with Ebola are able to recover, while others do not. The reasons behind this are not yet fully understood.
Symptoms of Ebola typically include:
Fever Weakness Stomach pain
Headache Diarrhea Lack of appetite
Joint and muscle aches Vomiting
Patients may also experience:
Rash Difficulty breathing Chest pain
Red Eyes Cough Difficulty swallowing
Hiccups Sore throat Bleeding inside and outside the body
On 7/31/2014, the CDC posted a Travel Alert Level 3, with recommendations to avoid all nonessential travel to the affected areas; Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. A Travel Alert Level 2 was posted for Nigeria on 8/5/2014.
People caring for person with suspected cases should wear protective equipment (gowns eye shield, gloves and a face mask). Properly dispose of any materials that may have come in contact with infected body fluids. There is currently no vaccine or preventive medication against Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever.
For more information go to: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html and http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices