An initial meeting of the WVU SARS Action Team took place at the University Health Service on 5/5/03. This group will serve as a clearinghouse for SARS questions, information, recommendations and actions. Those present include:

Other people expected to participate on the Action Team:

  • Amir Mohammadi Assoc. VP Student Affairs,
293-4409�2577, amir.mohammadi@mail.wvu.edu

Other people who will be involved and need to receive this information:

danaeBixler@wvdhhr.org , dhardest@wvu.edu , rdalessandri@hsc.wvu.edu , ken.gray@mail.wvu.edu , glang@wvu.edu , casew@rcbhsc.wvu.edu , becky.lofstead@mail.wvu.edu , curtisb@monhealthsys.org , achinnis@hsc.wvu.edu , lbennett@monchd.org , jmdavis@mail.wvu.edu

Initial plan of the group was to establish guidelines for dealing with SARS . Our recommendations are expected to change based on changes in the disease, and WHO and CDC recommendations. Many of these guidelines are pulled from CDC , WHO and other University printed materials, with their permission for redistribution.

* RECOMMENDATIONS FOR

* STUDENTS , STAFF AND FACULTY AT *

* WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY *

The following information addresses health and safety concerns of WVU students, staff and faculty regarding ongoing outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) around the world. The following recommendations are intended to guide students, staff and faculty who are planning international travel and study abroad, as well as those returning from high-risk international locations and visitors coming to Morgantown from those areas. This information is based on and in compliance with CDC recommendations.


p. Should I travel?


  • p. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued travel advisories and alerts for affected areas. The U.S. Department of State also issues travel warnings and announcements, which should be consulted for public safety and personal security information. For SARS -affected areas, the State Department instructs travelers to monitor CDC s web site. A CDC travel advisory recommends that people postpone elective or nonessential travel. As of May 6, a CDC travel advisory remained in effect for China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. A CDC travel alert recommends that travelers take special health precautions. As of May 6, a CDC travel alert remained in effect for Vietnam and Toronto, Canada.

WHO and CDC advisories are updated often and may differ. The University recommends monitoring WHO and CDC advisories and, when they differ, err on the side of caution by following the most conservative advice. The safest decision is not to travel to an area where a travel advisory or alert is in effect unless it is absolutely necessary. You may also wish to consult your health insurance carrier before travel. See below for links to WHO , CDC and the State Department Web sites.

According to WVU policy, WVU students are not permitted to study abroad in areas where a CDC travel advisory exists.


p. Travel to Areas Where a CDC Travel Advisory is in Effect.


  • p. Risks associated with travel to a high-risk SARS area include the possibility of being placed in quarantine with no access to personal physicians or family; difficulty in securing medical evacuation; and the possibility of being placed in isolation during international travel if symptoms associated with SARS are identified. Some local health-care facilities may not have sufficient capacity to accept and manage SARS cases. If you must travel to an area where CDC travel advisory is in effect, consult with the Student Health Service at 293-2311 prior to leaving. They will explain the signs and symptoms of SARS , and detail the protective measures to take during travel to that area.

Travelers to any area where WHO and CDC Travel Advisories or Alerts are in effect should wash their hands frequently and monitor their health. Avoid places where SARS is most likely to be transmitted (such as health-care facilities caring for a SARS patient) and take precautions listed by the CDC . Individuals who may have been exposed are not contagious unless they develop symptoms such as fever, malaise, or cough. There is no recommendation or evidence that masks will provide protection for the general public.


p. Travel from an Affected Area.


  • p. The CDC is distributing health alert notices about SARS to people traveling to the United States from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam and Toronto. For at least 10 days after departure, all travelers from affected area should monitor their health for symptoms of SARS , described below. To reduce the risk of transmitting the disease to others, students, staff, and faculty or visitors who travel from or through an affected area and develop fever or respiratory problems should immediately telephone a health-care provider for advice and to arrange a medical evaluation. Do not go directly to a health-care facility without calling first. Telephone Ruby Memorial Hospital ER at 598-4172 or Monongalia General Hospital ER at 598-1460 and inform them that you think you need to be evaluated for SARS . If you need immediate medical attention, cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and alert the medical provider that you have returned from a SARS -affected area.

SARS is a disease that usually begins with a fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (greater than 38.0 degrees Celsius). Other symptoms may include headache, an overall feeling of discomfort, and body aches. Some people also experience mild respiratory symptoms. After three to seven days, SARS patients may develop a dry cough and have trouble breathing.

SARS appears to spread primarily by close person-to-person contact. Most cases have involved people who care for or live with someone with SARS , or had direct contact with infectious material (for example, respiratory secretions) from a person who has SARS . Potential ways in which SARS can be spread include touching the skin of other persons or objects that are contaminated with infectious droplets and then touching the eye, nose, or mouth. This can happen when people who are sick with SARS cough or sneeze droplets onto themselves, other people, or nearby surfaces. SARS may also be spread more broadly through the air or by other means that are currently not known.

Currently, SARS is primarily centered in specific countries in Asia. Cases in travelers have been epidemiologically linked to travel in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.


p. For More Information.


  • p. Additional information on SARS can be found at the following CDC and WHO Web sites:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars

http://www.who.int/csr/sars/en/

These web sites are updated as new information about SARS and the areas affected becomes available. The U.S. Department of State also posts public safety recommendations for travelers at:

http://www.travel.state.gov/ .


p. Protection of University Students, Staff and Faculty.


  • p. Travel to high-risk areas is strongly discouraged for any reason. All WVU -sponsored student programs to high-risk areas have been cancelled. The University understands that travel restrictions may disrupt your plans, and those of visitors from overseas. Your cooperation is appreciated as these steps are taken to protect the University community.