While Ebola is attracting a great deal of media attention and raising understandable concerns, it is important to note that the Centers for Disease Control has repeatedly stated that Ebola poses no significant risk to the general U.S. population. The most important thing to remember is how the disease is spread: NOT through casual interaction; only through close contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is actively exhibiting symptoms of the illness.
Even with such a remote threat, the University of Mary Washington remains ready to respond if necessary. Campus leaders, emergency team members, and health officials have been coordinating preparedness efforts for many months. Senior campus administrators and Student Health Services, in collaboration with Emergency Management & Safety and local and state public health officials, have taken measures to prepare for a potential case locally, including:
• Continual monitoring of CDC advisories on the Ebola outbreak
• Advising individuals traveling to and from areas of ongoing transmission
• Monitoring and evaluating any travelers who may be at risk
• Assessing and reinforcing infection control measures and equipment
• Planning proactively with local and state public health officials
As we approach the holidays and members of the campus community develop travel plans, please keep in mind:
• Anyone considering travel to high-risk areas must be aware of local conditions and take appropriate precautions.
• The UMW Center for International Education has applied the CDC Ebola-related guidance by creating a protocol covering pre-travel preparation. Complete the Voluntary International Travel Registration on the International Business page. If you have traveled to an affected country and develop a fever within three weeks of your return – the virus’ maximum incubation period – immediately contact a health care provider by phone and let the provider know of your travel history and current symptoms.
At the moment, a far greater risk exists for catching influenza. To avoid that risk, you are urged to take extra care with personal hygiene.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get adequate rest.
Here are some important flu facts:
* Flu spreads directly from person to person. Be courteous and isolate yourself from non-infected people even if it means missing class. The University will attempt to make accommodations.
* CDC recommends a yearly seasonal flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu.
* If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
More information can be found on the Student Health Center site.
Posted Thursday, October 30