Important Travel Warning Information: Outbreak of Ebola in Guinea and Sierra Leone
Monday, August 10, 2015
- World Health Organization Frequently Asked Questions on Ebola
- CDC on Ebola Outbreak
- Ebola Preparedness at UNC Hospitals
- EHS Communicable Disease page
There have been recent outbreaks of communicable diseases in other parts of the world including Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria as well as increased cases of a new and serious respiratory virus known as MERS or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. Persons returning from an affected area should monitor their health and if feeling sick contact their health provider. Students, Fellows and Scholars should contact Campus Health at 919-966-2281 and ask to speak with a Registered Nurse. More contact information for Campus Health. Employees should contact the University Employee Occupational Health Clinic (UEOHC) 919-966-9119. Regardless, any traveler who becomes ill, even if only a fever, should consult a health-care provider immediately and tell him or her about their recent travel and potential contacts.
UNC has a very important policy guiding all travel by UNC students, staff and faculty. See more in the Policy Concerning Study, Travel, and Research in Countries Under U.S. State Department Travel Warnings and U.S. Centers for Disease Control Travel Notices, or go to the UNC Global Travel Info Page.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a Level 3 Travel Warningadvising against nonessential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. In addition, the CDC is continuing its screening and education efforts on the ground to prevent sick passengers from traveling from the affected countries.
The University endeavors to balance the value of participation in international educational activities against the potential risk to its students and employees of such participation. In balancing these factors, the University relies on information from the U.S. Department of State, most particularly the Travel Warnings issued periodically by that agency, and information in the Travel Notices issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Consequently, the University has developed the policy below that governs educational and other activities in countries for which the Department of State has issued a Travel Warning and countries for which the Centers for Disease Control has issued a Travel Notice.
MRSA infections in the community are usually skin infections, such as pimples and boils, and occur in otherwise healthy people. In the outbreaks of MRSA, the environment (i.e. surfaces) has not played a significant role in the transmission of MRSA. MRSA is transmitted most frequently by direct skin-to-skin contact. You can prevent MRSA skin infections by practicing good hygiene:
- Wash your hands.
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
- Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has excellent information about MRSA. Visit the CDC’s main MRSA website or their website with information about community acquired MRSA.
NIOSH has posted a new web page with information and recommendations to help employers and workers address workplace concerns associated with MRSA.
About Mumps: Mumps is a viral illness with symptoms that may include low-grade fever, muscle aches, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, headache, swelling of the face, on either side or both sides, in front or below the ear or jaw. Though medical complications can occur, most people fully recover from mumps.
How Mumps is spread: Mumps is spread through direct contact with respiratory droplets (from coughing and sneezing) and saliva from an infected person. Symptoms usually begin 16-18 days after exposure, but the range can be as short as 14 days and as long as 25 days from the exposure. People with mumps are most infectious 2 days before their symptoms begin but may be infectious as much as 7 days before onset of symptoms.
What you can do:
- Monitor yourself for symptoms of mumps between now and May 4, 2012. If you develop symptoms of mumps, (especially facial swelling on one or both sides), you should stay home, away from others, and contact Campus Health immediately.
- Check for evidence of your immunity to mumps as soon as possible. Evidence of immunity includes:
- Documentation by the physician who diagnosed you with mumps, if you had the disease in the past,
- Documentation of two mumps-containing vaccines (usually MMR) given on or after your first birthday and administered at least 1 month apart, or
- Documentation of a positive mumps titer (a blood test showing immunity).
If you were born before 1957 you are likely immune to mumps and do not need additional evidence of immunity. People in this age group have likely had mumps in childhood.
For additional information, please visit the CDC web site.
For questions or concerns, call Campus Health Services at 919-966-6573 to speak with a nurse or Sue Rankin, RN at 919-245-2340 or Judy Butler at 919-245-2425 at the Orange County Health Department.
Students, employees and others on campus need to be aware of the epidemic and take precautions against infection and know what to do if they see a suspicious animal or come into contact with one. Anyone who sees an animal displaying the symptoms of rabies should call the Department of Public Safety by dialing 911.
Common signs of rabies in animals include the following behaviors:
- Daytime activity in animals normally active at night.
- Staggering, weakness and paralysis.
- A change in the animal’s voice.
- Inability or reluctance to eat or drink.
- Drooling or frothing at the mouth.
Rabies is a disease, caused by a virus, which can infect all mammals, including humans. It is transmitted through contact with the saliva or nervous tissue of an infectious animal – usually through a bite. Rabies can also be passed by scratches from an infected animal or when infected saliva or brain tissue comes into contact with open wounds or breaks in the skin or mucous membranes.
If an exposed person or animal is not treated quickly, the virus may infect the person or animal and may result in death. Although the annual rabies death rate in the United States is very low, many of those deaths result from bat bites because such bites may not be noticeable. If you find a bat near a young child, a pet or person who is asleep or intoxicated, call 911 so the bat can be captured and tested. Anyone who might have been exposed should seek immediate medical attention.
If you are bitten, scratched or come into contact with any animal you suspect may be rabid, in addition to contacting public safety or other emergency personnel, it is important to act quickly to prevent contracting the disease.
According to guidelines established by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should wash the wound as soon as possible for at least 10 minutes with soap and warm running water and contact a doctor immediately.
Students should go to the Student Health Service. University employees on duty should go to theUniversity Employee Occupational Health Clinic at 145 N. Medical Drive. Except on holidays, the clinic is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Employees working during shifts when the clinic is closed should follow procedures established by their department.
If exposed while off-duty, employees should call their family doctor or go immediately to the nearest emergency room.
For more health information, please visit the Orange County Health Department.