Last updated 10/23/14
The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest in history and the first Ebola epidemic the world has ever known — affecting multiple countries in West Africa. University Health Services is continuing to monitor the Ebola outbreak and is keeping clinical staff updated and trained on the latest CDC recommendations. The CDC has confirmed three cases diagnosed within the US: a single case of Ebola was diagnosed in a traveler who spent time in Liberia and was treated in Dallas, and two nurses who were providing health care to this patient. A number of individuals with known contacts to these three confirmed cases are under quarantine or self-monitoring protocols. The University recommends that persons planning to travel to a high-risk area take appropriate precautions pre and post-travel. Additional advice for travelers is listed below.
New CA Department of Public Health Ebola hotline: (855)-421-5921
NEW SCREENING PROCEDURES AT TANG
UHS has now implemented new screening steps during the online appointment scheduling process and also when each patient presents for their appointment or Urgent Care evaluation.
UHS has provided multiple staff trainings according to CDC protocols on the use of personal protected equipment and protocols for managing any patient who presents with factors that might indicate possible exposure to Ebola. UHS continues to work with local and state public health authorities to prepare for the possibility of an Ebola-exposed individual presenting for evaluation. Please see CDC website for information updates on the emerging Ebola epidemic.
Ebola Virus Disease was first identified in 1976, and outbreaks have occurred in Africa sporadically since that time. Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. According to the CDC, The natural reservoir host of Ebola virus remains unknown. However, researchers believe that the virus is animal-borne and that bats are the most likely reservoir. Four of the five virus strains occur in an animal host native to Africa.
The countries most impacted by this outbreak are Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 Travel warning to avoid non-essential travel to these areas. Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have also seen small numbers of cases and the CDC has issued a Level 2 notice to take enhanced precautions if traveling to these areas.
CDC currently does not recommend that travelers avoid visiting other African countries.
In Africa, individuals become infected through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest. Ebola then spreads from person-to-person by direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and through contact with contaminated objects such as bedding or needles. Ebola is not spread via the air or water. The disease is not communicable unless the exposed person is symptomatic.
CDC has created guidance for monitoring people exposed to Ebola virus and for evaluating their travel, including the application of movement restrictions when indicated. UC has applied these guidelines in creating a protocol covering pre-travel preparation, guidance while in Ebola-risk areas and re-entry protocol. See Protocol (pdf) and Recommendations for Humanitarian Aid Workers (pdf).
Our Berkeley community has a valuable tradition of public service, research, teaching and education abroad. We urge anyone considering travel to high-risk areas to be aware of local conditions and take appropriate precautions. The university has arranged for employees and students traveling on official university business to be covered for a wide variety of accidents and incidents while away from the campus or primary workplace, this services includes location-specific alerts and assistance if needed while traveling. e.g. regarding medical care, health advisories, extreme weather or storms, natural disasters, or political unrest. Find information and registration materials here*.
Campus leaders and health officials have been coordinating preparedness efforts for many months. Senior campus administrators and University Health Services (UHS), in collaboration with experts from the School of Public Health, the Office of Environment, Health & Safety as well as local and state public health officials, have taken measures to prepare for a potential case locally, including:
- Continual monitoring of CDC advisories on the Ebola outbreak
- Ongoing coordination with other campus groups and UC Office of the President
- Advising travelers traveling to and from areas of ongoing transmission
- Monitoring and evaluating returning travelers who may be at risk
- Assessing and reinforcing infection control measures and equipment
- Proactive planning with local and state public health officials and campus partners on how to manage a potential exposures to, or a suspect case of, the Ebola virus
*Other important pre-trip planning resources include:
- UC Berkeley International Travel Clinic
- UC Berkeley EH&S Field Safety Guidance
- WorldCue Pre-Trip Planning Tool
- U.S. State Department
- Centers for Disease Control
- CDC Ebola page
As the situation evolves, we will post updates on this page. For additional timely updates we encourage you to visit the CDC website.