To: The Washington State University (WSU) Community
From: The WSU Infectious Disease Response Team
Date: October 8, 2014
Re: Guidance and Recommendations Regarding the EBOLA Virus
The WSU Infectious Disease Response Team (IDRT) has been closely monitoring the evolving threat of the Ebola virus, including outbreaks in several West African countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Guinea) and the recent case of the traveler from Liberia presenting with Ebola infection in Texas. Current steps are being taken by the CDC to minimize the spread of the virus making the risk to the public for this situation quite low.
Health organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are also working on a global level to contain, and eventually eradicate this threat. Accordingly, members of the university community, including students, faculty, and staff at all WSU campuses should stay abreast of public health information about Ebola.
Continuously updated information about Ebola can be found on the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/
The CDC has also provided specific guidance for universities, colleges, and students regarding Ebola at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/advice-for-colleges-universities-and-students-about-ebola-in-west-africa
Consistent with this guidance, WSU has implemented the following:
- Restricting all non-essential university related travel to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The IDRT will continue to monitor the evolving situation and re-evaluate this restriction accordingly. Further possible restrictions to travel will be based upon CDC Level 2 and Level 3 Travel Alerts.
Any students who have traveled from any of the affected countries within the past 21 days are asked to contact Health and Wellness Services (HWS) at (509) 335-3575. Any faculty or staff traveling from any of the affected countries is asked to contact their health care provider or their local county health department. Clark County Public Health may be contacted at 360-397-8182, www.clark.wa.gov/public-health
- Travelers from affected countries are also asked to monitor themselves for possible symptoms of Ebola (fever, headache, weakness, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, or bleeding). If travelers have symptoms, they should call their health care provider or their local county health department immediately to report symptoms and recent travel history. It is important to call first before seeking help in person so that precautions to contain possible spread of the virus can be enacted in a timely manner.
- WSU strongly encourages faculty and staff who are traveling abroad to register with the WSU International Travel Registry at http://ip.wsu.edu/global-learning/travel-registry.html
- WSU requires all students traveling abroad for non-credit earning opportunities to register with the WSU International Travel Registry at the link specified above.
- We have already contacted a small number of students arriving from Nigeria at the beginning of fall semester, none of whom have developed symptoms. To our knowledge, there has been no further recent travel from affected areas within our university communities.
Despite the recent case in the United States, the threat of Ebola spreading to our university communities remains low at this time. Spread of Ebola from affected areas requires recent travel by a person who has been in extended recent contact with bodily fluids from an afflicted individual. Timely identification of persons traveling from affected areas coupled with close monitoring and reporting of symptoms is a cautious and prudent approach to continue to contain this risk. Students with questions may contact HWS at (509) 335-3575. Faculty and staff with questions should contact their health care provider or their local county public health department.