Ebola Virus Disease FAQs
1. Why did I receive an email (link to recent email) from the University regarding Ebola? Is the Wake Forest community at risk?
The Wake Forest Student Health Service, in conjunction with the Forsyth County Health Department, is monitoring the presence of the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa—Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. While the risk of Ebola Virus Disease affecting our campus community is low, we have implemented a protocol to educate our community, identify individuals who may be at risk of exposure based on their travel and respond to individuals identified as having been at risk of exposure.
The Student Health Service has worked with the Wake Forest Center for Global Programs and Studies to identify individuals who may have been in the countries where outbreaks of Ebola exist. No one has been identified who appears at risk of contracting the disease.
2. What is Wake Forest University doing to protect our community?
Wake Forest University and the Forsyth County Health Department plan to continue to be proactive in our approach to keeping the community safe and have implemented the following protocol:
- A message (link to letter) has been e-mailed asking any student, faculty or staff member who has traveled to a region with known outbreaks of Ebola within the last month to contact the Student Health Service.
- The Student Health Service will work with Forsyth County Health Department to determine risk of exposure among any individual who has traveled from a region designated by the CDC to have an Ebola outbreak or had possible exposure to a person with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) to evaluate level of risk and a surveillance plan for development of symptoms.
- The Center for Global Programs and Studies and Student Health Service will remain in communication about individuals who may travel to or from the affected regions. The CDC has placed a travel advisory to these areas, so it is unlikely that ongoing travel to these regions will occur. Wake Forest University is not funding or sponsoring any trips to areas with an Ebola CDC travel advisory.
3. Is it safe to travel for study abroad?
- As Ebola continues to be of international concern, Wake Forest University officials want students, parents, faculty and staff to be assured that while the risk of disease transmission while studying abroad is low, appropriate preparedness actions are taking place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our community.
- Wake Forest University officials are monitoring travel advisories from the CDC regarding recommendations related to Ebola. There are currently no travel precautions issued for locations where our students are studying abroad this semester. The university will continue to monitor the CDC’s recommendations and respond accordingly.
The University recommends that all individuals who are traveling abroad:
- Continue to take basic precaution to protect their health, including frequently washing hands with soap and water or regular use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with sick individuals. Ebola virus is only transmitted through blood and bodily fluids.
- Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
- Remember that it impossible to get infected with Ebola if you have not had direct contact with the body fluids of an Ebola infected person
For information regarding safety in air travel: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/faq1017-ebola-investigation-frequently-asked-questions.html
4. Does the university have a policy regarding travel to regions identified as having outbreaks of Ebola?
University officials continue to monitor the Ebola situation carefully. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a statement titled, “Advice for College, Universities and Students about Ebola in West Africa,” and updates it as needed. The university is following all recommendations issued by the CDC and will continue to do so. Per CDC guidelines, there will be no Wake Forest University funded or sponsored travel to regions with an Ebola travel advisory in place.
While the university does not have a policy restricting personal travel to regions impacted by this virus, the Student Health Service is asking any individual with such plans to contact the health service to discuss the potential risk of travel.
5. What is the CDC doing to identify travelers from West Africa who may become ill and spread Ebola to others once they arrive in the United States?
The CDC has just implemented “ Active Post-Arrival Monitoring” for travelers from countries impacted by Ebola. For more information please visit the CDC link: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p1022-post-arrival-monitoring.html
6. How has Wake Forest Student Health Service prepared for a potential case of Ebola on campus?
Wake Forest Student Health Service has implemented a preparedness plan following the CDC guidelines specific for universities. This plan includes a system to:
- Identify individuals with potential risk of exposure or symptoms of Ebola.
- Rapid isolation of an individual with symptoms and risk of Ebola based upon CDC guidelines.
- Appropriate training of staff in the use of personal protective equipment and infection control measures.
- Coordination with county EMS, local medical centers and public health authorities to manage a suspected case or individual who has had a potential exposure to Ebola.
7. How has the university prepared for Ebola, generally?
The university has partnered with our local county department of public health, county emergency management teams and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to create a strategic plan to prepare the campus in the unlikely event we have an individual with either potential exposure to or illness from Ebola. University officials continue to meet regularly with public health officials for updated information and guidelines specific for universities.
- The university will continue to reach out to the Wake Forest community to identify students, faculty and staff who have been in countries where Ebola outbreaks are occurring within the last 21 days to conduct a risk assessment to determine that individual’s level of risk exposure.
- Student Health Service has partnered with Residence Life and Housing and first responders to provide education about Ebola.
8. How easy is it for someone to catch Ebola?
Ebola is difficult to contract. It is transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is ill with the virus. Individuals are NOT contagious until they become ill. For more information about the transmission of Ebola, please visit the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/index.html
9. Where can I find more information about Ebola?
For more information about Ebola specific to universities, please visit the CDC website:
For general information about Ebola, please visit the CDC website. http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html
If you have specific questions about Ebola, please see the information for hotlines:
In North Carolina: An Ebola public information line has been established by Carolinas Poison Center. The number is 1-800-222-1222, and callers should press 6 for questions about Ebola. For the CDC: 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)