Ebola Prevention and Response Guidelines
If you suspect that you may have been exposed to Ebola, contact:
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is closely monitoring the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice, official health advisories and other information related to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. West Africa is comprised of 16 countries, they are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the major West African countries under alert at this time as of January 18, 2015.
The UNLV Student Wellness Center confirmed that no international students from Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone are enrolled for fall 2014. As a precaution, however, an Ebola notice was sent to all students, faculty, and staff on August 25, 2014 outlining the outbreak, symptoms, and transmission of Ebola, and how to report suspected exposure. No suspected exposures have been reported. The University does have students currently enrolled in study abroad programs in Ghana, but none in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Nigeria. However, please note, due to the dynamic nature of the evolving situation, these University guidelines will be revised as new information becomes available and the CDC issues updated advice.
CDC's Advice for Study Abroad, Foreign Exchange, or Other Education-related Travel
The CDC's recommendations against non-essential travel, including education-related travel, are intended to help control the outbreak and prevent continued spread in two ways: to protect the health of US residents who would be traveling to the affected areas; and, to enable the governments of countries where Ebola outbreaks are occurring to respond most effectively to contain the outbreak.
- The CDC has posted a Warning–Level 3 Travel Notices recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone at this time.
- The CDC has posted an Alert-Level 2 Travel Notice (Practice Enhanced Precautions) for travelers to Bamako, Mali.
- The CDC has updated its Level 2, Alert to a Watch–Level 1 Travel Notice for Nigeria with recommendations for usual precautions. The purpose of this travel notice is to notify travelers that a small number of Ebola cases were recently reported, but this outbreak was contained to a small number of cases. Although the risk for Ebola in Nigeria is currently low, travelers should be aware that the outbreak continues in nearby countries and other importations of Ebola are possible.
- At this time, the CDC states that there is no risk of contracting Ebola in other countries in the West African region where Ebola cases have not been reported. However the situation could change rapidly.
- Travelers should visit the CDC Travel Health Notices page for the most up-to-date guidance and recommendations for each country, including information about health screening of incoming and outgoing travelers and restrictions on travel within countries.
UNLV Advisory for Education-Related Travel
- All UNLV travelers are strongly advised to defer nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The CDC urges all US residents to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone because of an unprecedented outbreak of Ebola and the adverse impacts to healthcare and other infrastructure within these countries.
- The Student Wellness Center strongly cautions all UNLV students traveling to other West African countries until the current emergency in the region is over because in-country conditions, including travel and healthcare infrastructure support, could change very suddenly in event of Ebola cases occurring in those countries. In the event of an outbreak, any country has the right to enact measures (such as quarantine, isolation and screening) to protect its citizens and to prevent the spread of the outbreak to other countries. These measures may infringe on the individual rights of those who appear to be infected with or exposed to a disease of public health concern - including visiting US citizens. The ability of the U.S. Department of State to intervene in such situations is limited.
UNLV Management of Students and Faculty Who have Recently Returned to the US from Countries where the Ebola Outbreaks are Occurring
The CDC is not recommending that colleges and universities isolate or quarantine students, faculty, or staff based on travel history alone. Accordingly, the UNLV Student Wellness Center will conduct a risk assessment with identified students, faculty, and staff who have been in countries where Ebola outbreaks are occurring within the past 21 days to determine individual level of risk exposure. The CDC defines the level of risk in three categories. They are high-risk exposure, low-risk exposure and no known exposure. (See Appendix B: UNLV Ebola Prevention and Response Guidelines). They also will receive education on the following topics:
- Self-monitoring for symptoms
- Reporting procedures for those who develop symptoms
- Importance of immediately reporting symptoms and staying separated from other people as soon as symptoms develop
- If a student, faculty, or staff member has had a high- or low-risk exposure, the Southern Nevada Health District will be notified. UNLV officials should consult with Southern Nevada Health District for guidance about how that person should be monitored. Anyone with a potential exposure should receive thorough education about immediately reporting symptoms and staying away from other people if symptoms develop.
- In the event that a person who has had a high- or low-risk exposure develops symptoms consistent with Ebola, the person should be medically evaluated while following recommended infection control precautions. The Southern Nevada Health District will be notified.
- If campus community members have had no symptoms of Ebola for 21 days since leaving a West African country with Ebola outbreaks, NO further assessment is needed.
CDC Recommendations for Student Health Centers
The CDC recommendations for student health centers are the same as those for other US health care workers and settings.
- Student health center clinicians should refer to the CDC Ebola Virus Disease Information for Clinicians in US Healthcare Settings for more information on symptoms, exposure risks, and infection control measures.
- While Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population, clinicians are advised to be alert for signs and symptoms of Ebola in patients who have a recent (within 21 days) travel history to countries where the outbreak is occurring or have had contact with a person infected with Ebola. In the event that a potential case is identified, clinicians should isolate the patient pending diagnostic testing.
UNLV Student Wellness Center Plan
UNLV Student Wellness Center clinicians will follow these steps when caring for someone who may be sick with Ebola Virus Disease (this does not represent an exhaustive list of precautions and procedures):
- Apply the Southern Nevada Health District Interim Algorithm for Ebola Virus Disease Testing and Surveillance (see Appendix C: UNLV Ebola Prevention and Response Guidelines).
- Use proper infection prevention and control measures (see Appendices D and E: UNLV Ebola Prevention and Response Guidelines), standard, contact, and droplet precautions are recommended if Ebola is suspected.