While always remaining current on the latest infectious disease information and guidance, especially in a university setting, leaders of the West Virginia University Division of Student Life and WVU Healthcare increase their communication and cooperation whenever special situations arise.
Accordingly, since August multiple groups within the University have been discussing precautions and possible responses raised by concerns about Ebola, Enterovirus D68 and other infectious diseases currently drawing attention.
“By their very nature, universities such as WVU – which draw people from all over the world – with their high concentration of close-quarters living and large gatherings, need to be especially vigilant when it comes to monitoring and responding to infectious diseases,” said WVU Chief Global Officer Zito Sartarelli.
WVU Healthcare Infectious Disease Specialist Rashida Khakoo, M.D., who is leading a WVU Healthcare task force, said, “While there is no imminent threat of Ebola in our community, because of the ease of international travel and the diversity inherent at a major university, our world is small.
“We have a multidisciplinary task force that is working together to assess the risk of Ebola here, and preparing to care for potential patients while preventing further spread of the disease. We are sharing our expertise and using the CDC guidelines to prepare in all parts of our institution and beyond.”
The University has been in contact with the small number of students enrolled at WVU from areas in West Africa affected by the Ebola outbreak, reminding them if they have traveled to any of the affected countries in the past 21 days, which at this time include Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, or have been in contact with a visitor from these areas and are having symptoms of fever, vomiting or diarrhea, to report to the nearest emergency department and clearly identify their recent travel, symptoms and need to be evaluated as soon as entering the facility.
The CDC reminds that Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or through your eyes, nose, or mouth) with:
• Blood and body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola.
• Objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola.
Ebola is not spread through the air, water or food.
While there is no FDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola, experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.
To protect yourself from Ebola:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Do not touch the blood or body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of people who are sick.
• Do not handle items that may have come in contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids, like clothes, bedding, needles, or medical equipment.
• Do not touch the body of someone who has died of Ebola.
Specific information from the CDC for universities is available at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/advice-for-colleges-universities-and-students-about-ebola-in-west-africa.
WVU students with questions should contact Student Health at 304-285-7200.
CONTACT: University Relations/News
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