Department of Health Offers Ebola Response Guidelines for Universities
As Ebola cases continue to be reported in numerous countries, government agencies continue to take steps toward being better prepared to combat the virus.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed an executive order Oct. 20 to establish a team of local experts, including representatives from the University System of Georgia, to issue recommendations on the virus.
The Georgia Department of Public Health has also offered guidance to colleges and universities on precautions to take regarding Ebola.
- Be aware of students and their families, faculty, staff members, and visitors who have traveled to Ebola-affected West African countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, within the previous 21 days.
- Know the signs and symptoms of Ebola, which may appear anywhere from 2–21 days after exposure. These include:
- Fever (including low-grade)
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained, unusual bleeding or bruising
- If someone presents to your campus health clinic with a fever, immediately ask if he or she has traveled to or come into contact with someone who has traveled to an Ebola-affected region.
- If you encounter individuals you believe meet the case definition described in (1) and (2) or (3), immediately separate the individual from contact with others, and report it to the Department of Public Health (DPH) at 1-866-PUB-HLTH or the DPH Epidemiology section at 404-657-2588.
- Hand washing is still the best, most effective method at your disposal to protect you from the spread of infectious disease.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and partners are taking precautions to prevent the further spread of Ebola within the U.S. by working with other government agencies, the World Health Organization, and other domestic and international partners. This includes implementing enhanced entry screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Still, Tech faculty offer the reminder that, although Ebola is dangerous, Americans are more likely to become hospitalized, or even die, from many other illnesses, such as influenza. Professors Ozlem Ergun, Pinar Keskinocak, and Julie Swann wrote a joint blog post on the topic at amplifier.gatech.edu on Oct. 21.
“For Ebola, you should direct what resources you can to Africa out of compassion and a concern for further spread,” they said. “But for yourself, you should take simple measures like getting appropriate vaccinations to reduce the impact of diseases that are much more likely to affect you and your family.”
Stamps Health Services continues to offer flu vaccines to Tech employees for $25. Upcoming flu clinics will take place Nov. 4, Nov. 18, and Dec. 2. More information is available at www.health.gatech.edu.