Information about Ebola - August 19, 2014
As many of you have seen in the news, there has been an outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa. Because American University welcomes students and faculty from around the world and many of our students and faculty travel around the world, we thought that it would be important to let you know how the university is planning to support its community.
Ebola can only be transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person. It cannot be transmitted through air, water or food. Symptoms of the infection often include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Most of these symptoms may appear 8-10 days after exposure to the virus, although they can develop up to 21 days after exposure.
Currently all of the known cases were transmitted on the African continent. To minimize potential spread outside of West Africa, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been assisting with active screening and education efforts to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. Furthermore, airports in these regions are screening all outbound passengers for Ebola symptoms, including any fever. That said, the CDC does recommend that if a person has been to an epidemic country and develops fever or other symptoms, they should go to the emergency room and inform the health care personnel that they recently returned from the affected area.
Some of our students and faculty have studied or lived abroad on the African continent over the summer. Anyone who has returned from that region of the world has been screened prior to boarding an airplane and should absolutely not be considered infectious or dangerous in any way.
American University is working cooperatively with local and federal health departments and other regional agencies to monitor the situation abroad. At this time, there are no cases in the District of Columbia, and there has been no viral transmission anywhere outside of West Africa. As such, we do not plan to alter our normal activities to an appreciable extent. Any adjustments regarding international programs will be communicated on an individual basis. Should that situation change, you will be notified.
More information regarding Ebola virus.