University Preparation regarding Ebola Outbreak in West AfricaAugust 5, 2014
Truman State University Student Health is currently monitoring the Ebola outbreaks in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria through vigilant attention to CDC updates and advisories, any available guidance from the American College Health Association and coordination with the Missouri Department of Health and Truman’s Center for International Education.
Any international student arriving to attend Truman who is identified as having a high fever will be screened, and when appropriate, transported directly to the local emergency room for evaluation. Any suspected case of Ebola (though unlikely) would be isolated and treated as per Department of Health guidelines.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a severe, often fatal, hemorrhagic disease caused by a viral infection.
How is it transmitted?
The Ebola infection in humans is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or secretions of a sick, infected person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions. The greatest danger of infection is to health care workers or family members who come in contact with infectious bodily fluids when caring for ill patients or family members. Unlike influenza, Ebola is not transmitted through respiratory secretions. In fact, transmission is much more similar to the transmission of HIV/AIDs or Hepatitis C (through contact with infectious blood or body fluids).
What are the symptoms?
When infection with Ebolavirus occurs, symptoms usually begin abruptly. Symptoms may mimic severe flu, and include high fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite. Some individuals may have coughs, sore throats, chest pain, red eyes, rashes and hiccups. Progression of the disease can result in difficulty breathing and swallowing and bleeding inside and outside of the body.
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebolavirus, though 8-10 days is most common.
Some who become sick with Ebola HF are able to recover, while others do not. The reasons behind this are not yet fully understood. However, it is known that patients who die usually have not developed a significant immune response to the virus at the time of death.
What is the University doing to ensure my student’s safety in light of this international outbreak?
Any newly-arriving international student with a high fever will be screened, and when appropriate, transported directly to the local emergency room for evaluation. Any student identified by the Emergency Room as a potentially Ebola-infected student will be isolated and treated as per Health Department guidance.
Health Center staff will continue to monitor the situation and will evaluate any high-risk students (those who have studied or traveled abroad in Ebola outbreak countries who have had contact with sick individuals) and will isolate and refer for emergency evaluation as appropriate.
Where can I continue to get accurate, up-to-date information?
The Centers for Disease Control continuously update their website (http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola) to reflect the most current knowledge regarding Ebola, including newly identified cases and any travel restrictions and advice.