Advisory on the Ebola Virus and the Flu
It is helpful to remember that the virus is not an airborne threat. It is spread only by direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone in the active, symptomatic phase of the illness. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after infection and can include a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, headache, joint and muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Visit the CDC Web site, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola, for the latest in Ebola information.
Any student or faculty member who has traveled to, from or through the affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Mali within the past month is required to contact Health Services at 410-778-7261 prior to arrival on campus to discuss screening, monitoring and health precautions. In addition, if over the holiday break you spent time with friends or family who had recently returned from those regions, that exposure places you in a “low-risk category” and you should notify Health Services before returning to campus.
Going forward, Health Services will employ the same CDC-recommended screening protocols in place at the local Emergency Department and other outpatient clinics. All individuals who call Health Services to make any type of appointment will be screened for a history of foreign travel/Ebola risk factors. Additional screening questions will be asked at check-in to the clinic or when being seen by our practitioners. Thanks for your cooperation as we operate with an abundance of caution.
FIGHTING THE FLU:
The bigger health concern for our campus as everyone returns from break is influenza, or flu. The flu usually comes on suddenly, and symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults. People who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications can include children younger than 5 (especially children younger than 2), adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people who have certain medical conditions including asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, blood disorders, kidney disorders, metabolic disorders, endocrine disorders such as diabetes, and weakened immune systems due to disease or medication.
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting yourself. Please do get a flu vaccine if you have not already done so. We still have flu vaccine available in Health Services and will make it available until our supply runs out. It takes about 14 days to build up immunity to the common flu strains after you receive the vaccine. The current vaccine does not protect against all strains of the flu.
There are everyday actions that can stop the spread of the flu: stay away from those already sick with flu, wash your hands frequently, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially if someone in your household, residence hall, or workplace is ill.
If you develop flu symptoms before classes resume, you should remain at home until you are fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications for 48 hours.Sick students should notify Health Services that they are at home with the flu by calling 410-778-7261 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.We will alert Associate Provost Patrice DiQuinzio, who will then notify your professors.
The Centers for Disease Control offers more information about the flu at http://www.cdc.gov/flu, and Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene offers advice on its Web site, http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/influenza/SitePages/Home.aspx.