Pandemic Infection Plan and Information
2014 Ebola Virus Outbreak
The 2014 Ebola virus outbreak is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in West Africa. The current outbreak is affecting multiple countries in West Africa. The risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low. CDC and partners are taking many precautions to prevent this from happening.
CDC is working with other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners and has activated its Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate technical assistance and control activities with partners. CDC has also deployed teams of public health experts to West Africa and will continue to send experts to the affected countries.
If you are arriving to Florida after being in any of the following countries in the past 21 days: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal or Democratic Republic of Congo.
In an effort to protect your health and the health of others, please come to the Student Health Center for a simple health screening. At this time we will give you a free thermometer and discuss how to monitor your health.
- CDC has posted Warning – Level 3 Travel Notices recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone at this time. We advise that education-related travel to these countries be postponed until further notice.
- CDC has posted an Alert – Level 2 Travel Notice for Nigeria with recommendations for enhanced precautions to help travelers protect themselves and help prevent the spread of Ebola. These recommendations may change as the situation evolves. In the event that the situation worsens in Nigeria, CDC may recommend against non-essential travel to Nigeria. Colleges and universities should consider this possibility when deciding whether to proceed with education-related travel plans in Nigeria.
- The US Department of State takes action to protect US citizens who travel outside the US through a number of diplomatic channels. However, in the event of an outbreak, any country has the right to enact measures (such as quarantine of exposed people, isolation of sick people, and screening of people entering or exiting the country for sickness or disease exposure) to protect its citizens and to prevent the spread of an outbreak to other countries. These measures may infringe on the individual rights of those who appear to be infected with or exposed to a disease of public health concern—including visiting US citizens. The ability of the U.S. Department of State to intervene in such situations is limited. See the US Department of State’s Emergency Resources page for more information.
- Visit the CDC Travel Health Notices page for the most up-to-date guidance and recommendations for each country, including information about health screening of incoming and outgoing travelers and restrictions on travel within countries.
CDC responses to Q&A about Ebola:
Why is CDC recommending that U.S. residents avoid traveling to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone?
- CDC’s recommendations against non-essential travel, including education-related travel, are intended to help control the outbreak and prevent continued spread in two ways: to protect the health of US residents who would be traveling to the affected areas and to enable the governments of countries where Ebola outbreaks are occurring to respond most effectively to contain the outbreak.
- The health care systems of countries where the Ebola outbreak is occurring are being severely strained as the outbreak grows. Even if students and faculty are not planning to be in contact with people who are sick with Ebola (such as in health care settings), other safety factors related to their travel need to be considered. For example, a traveler injured in a car accident may have to visit a hospital where Ebola patients are being cared for, which could put the person at risk. Also, because the health care system is severely strained, resources may not be available to treat both routine emergency health needs among visiting US citizens.
How long is the outbreak going to last? Will it be safe to travel in the spring semester?
- Although it is impossible to predict with complete certainty, it could take a minimum of six months to get the outbreak under control. The ministries of health in the countries where the Ebola outbreaks are happening are working in collaboration with the World Health Organization, CDC, and others to respond. However, due to the complicated nature of the outbreak, these countries face many challenges. Universities should consider the likelihood that the outbreak could continue for several months and that CDC’s recommendation to avoid non-essential travel may remain in place for as long as the outbreak lasts. This might mean not traveling to the affected area during the spring semester if the outbreak is still ongoing.
Is education-related travel to other countries in the West Africa region safe?
- At this time, there is no risk of contracting Ebola in other countries in the West Africa region where Ebola cases have not been reported. However the situation could change rapidly.
- To stay up to date, check reliable news sources, stay in touch with your university’s local contacts, and check for updated information on CDC’s Traveler’s Health website.
How to Monitor Your Health
- For the first 21 days:
- Take your temperature every morning and evening.
- Watch for other Ebola symptoms: severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
- If your temperature is above 101.5°F (38.6°C) or you have any other Ebola signs or symptoms, seek medical care
- Call Ahead: Call the health care facility and inform them of your recent travel and symptoms before you go to the student health center at 674-8078 (Monday through Friday 8 to 8) or emergency room (Holmes Regional Medical Center at 1350 South Hickory Street, Melbourne, FL (321) 434-7000.) Advance notice will help the staff care for you and protect other people who may be in the clinic or hospital.
- Limit your contact with other people when you travel to the clinic or hospital; avoid public transportation.
- Do not travel anywhere except to the clinic or hospital.
- Limit your contact with other people if you are sick. Do not go to work, classes, or other student activities until you have been medically evaluated.
- During the time that you are monitoring your health, if you have no symptoms, you can continue your normal activities, but avoid intimate contact with others. Going to work, school and non-contact sports are fine. If you get symptoms of Ebola, it is important to stay separated from other people and to call the student health center at 321-674-8078 right away.
Have You Been Exposed To Ebola Or Suspect You Were?
- If you were exposed to people who had Ebola, or their blood or body fluids, come to the student health center immediately even if you do not have symptoms. We will tell you what school-specific instructions you should follow. We will also evaluate your exposure level and symptoms. If you are symptomatic we will consult with the Brevard County Health Department to determine if actions— such as medical evaluation and testing for Ebola, monitoring, or travel restrictions— are needed.
- Follow the above instructions for monitoring your health.