University officials continue to monitor developments connected to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and related cases in the United States. Heightened concerns about the virus prompted University officials to provide answers to some frequently asked questions about what is happening at Clemson.
University officials are monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to determine if there is an impact at Clemson University. They have developed a plan for a response in the event it is suspected someone here may have been exposed to the disease. Participants in that process include Redfern Student Health Center; Student Affairs; Housing; police, fire and EMS; and International Services.
The university is following the guidelines for Ebola monitoring and prevention recommended by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC says Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. The current Ebola outbreak is centered in three countries in West Africa: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. As of early January '15, four people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Ebola.
Yes, primarily because the early symptoms of Ebola – fever, muscle and body aches, headaches and nausea – also are signs of the flu, which is far more common, easily spread and possibly life-threatening to the very young, elderly and people with weakened immune systems. The CDC estimates that 5 to 20 percent of U.S. residents will get the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized on average for flu-related complications each year.
Unlike Ebola, for which there are no vaccines or real treatments, flu can almost always be prevented, or at least mitigated, by a flu shot. Information about the flu and the vaccine are posted on the Redfern website.
Every student who checks in for treatment at Redfern is asked screening questions about recent travel to and from West Africa to identify those who should be monitored for the appearance of symptoms.
The Redfern staff has procedures for treating patients who are suspected to have had contact with the disease or who are suspected to be infected. It includes practices for protecting themselves and preventing the spread of the illness to other patients and staff.
Clemson Fire and EMS personnel receive daily guidance from the CDC concerning the Ebola situation, and change their operating procedures accordingly. First responders have a high level of awareness and training concerning chemical or biological incidents, and are well-equipped to respond in the very slight chance someone in the Clemson community is diagnosed with the disease.
If you have additional questions, contact Redfern Student Health Center at 864-656-3571.
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