Ebola Virus & the Prevention of Infectious Illness

Although the current likelihood of Ebola virus infection in our region and campus population is remote, the Student Health Center is following all Centers for Disease Control and Public Health guidelines and information releases and is prepared to respond accordingly.

Reliable updated information on Ebola virus can be found at:

Ebola infection is considered a risk only for individuals who have traveled in the last 21 days to outbreak areas in West Africa or have had close bodily contact with an Ebola infected person or items contaminated by such a person’s body fluids.   Ebola is less likely to infect unsuspecting individuals than other infectious diseases such as measles or influenza, because, according to infectious disease experts, it is not spread through air and isn’t spread before an infected individual has symptoms.  Even in Africa, most cases have been limited to family caregivers, intimate partners and health care workers. The very few cases in the US have occurred through similar contacts.

As a precaution, the California State University system has recommended that CSU staff and students avoid educational or similar travel to African regions where Ebola is active. Individuals who have recently arrived in the US from such areas should monitor their temperature twice daily for 21 days and report fever of 100.4⁰ or more, intestinal or other symptoms of concern as well as their travel or exposure history to a healthcare provider.  For symptomatic individuals with a history consistent with an exposure risk, such contact is ideally by phone, so you can be directed to the most appropriate healthcare setting for further attention.

The prevention message for Ebola is the same as consistently following measures advised to reduce the risk of other infections that can have significant health consequences and are far more likely to occur:

  • Wash hands with soap & water throughout the day & following contact with potentially contaminated items.  Use alcohol based hand rubs when soap & water aren’t available.
  • Avoid contact with the body fluids of people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mucus membrane surfaces with unwashed hands.
  • Don’t share food or drink items, utensils, tooth brushes, cigarettes, joints, or any other item that has been in contact with the mouth, saliva, etc. of another person.
  • Keep your immune system in top shape by getting plenty of sleep, eating nutritiously, avoiding smoking or unsafely consuming alcohol or drugs. (Avoid consuming alcohol beyond a maximum of 1-2 drinks per day and a maximum of 7 drinks per week for women & 14 drinks per week for men.)
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
  • Dispose of used tissues in the toilet or a garbage can and wash or sanitize hands immediately.
Make sure you’re up to date on CDC recommended immunizations including your annual flu shot. Now is the time to be getting this year’s flu vaccine, and it’s available to SSU students at the Student Health Center pharmacy for a nominal fee.