W& J College Ebola Information P age Updates for Fall 2015

Several W&J community members have made inquiries regarding information about Ebola. Student Health Services can assist with additional information.

So, first for the great news!   The three West African countries most affected are down to very few cases, and Sierra Leone had NO new cases at the end of August.   That said, there are still a few active cases and there is still lots of watchfulness.

Here is the link to Pennsylvania’s update on monitoring.

http://www.health.pa.gov/My%20Health/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/E-H/Pages/Ebola1124-7264.aspx#.Vdt_lPlViko

BASIC INFORMATION

How great is the risk that I will contract Ebola?

This risk is very small!  As you’ll see below, there are identifiable risk factors, and generally the risk for the US public at large is limited.  The risk is increased for health care workers caring for Ebola patients and for those who have been in contact with infected persons or animals.

Who is at risk?

Only people who have been in contact with persons or animals actively infected with the virus or with their bodily fluids are at risk.

How is it spread?

Ebola is spread by contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.  If these bodily fluids contact the eyes, nose, mucus membranes, or broken skin the risk is increased.

Where is Ebola a concern in the US?

There are no currently infected individuals in the U.S.  There have been a few individuals placed on quarantine and watched in recent weeks, but they did not have Ebola.

What are the symptoms?

         Fever

         Severe headache

         Muscle pain

         Vomiting

         Diarrhea

         Stomach pain

         Unexplained bleeding or bruising

 

What to do if I think I or another person may have Ebola?

 

        If the person has a fever.

AND

• If they have additional symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or unexplained bleeding.

AND

• In the past three weeks before onset of symptoms, has the individual:

o Traveled to West Africa – specifically Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone?

o Been in contact with the blood or body fluids of a person known to have or                             suspected to have Ebola?

o Attended funeral proceedings for a person suspected or known to have died of                             Ebola?

o Handled bats or non-human primates (monkeys, gorillas or chimpanzees)                             originating from disease-endemic areas?

 

If the above information applies to yourself or an individual you are concerned about, call your closest health care provider.  Make sure you call the doctor’s office or emergency room before going and tell them about your recent travel or exposure, and symptoms so that arrangements can be made, if needed, to prevent others from becoming sick.  If you have concerns please call Student Health Services at (724) 223-6047.

Is Ebola survivable?

While Ebola is a very difficult disease to treat, the answer to this question for many individuals is “Yes.”  With early supportive medical care a person’s odds of surviving are definitely better.  And research and advancements in treatment are currently being made. 

How can I protect myself against Ebola?


If you are in a high risk area, you can protect yourself by doing the following:

  Washing hands frequently
  Avoiding contact with anyone’s blood and body fluids – particularly someone who is sick
  Avoiding West African hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated
  Not handling items that may contain an infected person’s blood or body fluids
  Not touching the body of someone who has died from Ebola
  Not touching bats, monkeys, gorillas or chimpanzees or their blood and fluids
  Not eating “bushmeat” (wild animals that are hunted for food)
  Seeking medical care immediately if you develop Ebola symptoms

*It should be noted that CDC advises against non-essential travel. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices .

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health Website at:

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/department_of_health_home/17457

Or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at:

http://www.cdc.gov/