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Ebola Outbreak in West Africa – Campus Statement

September 3, 2014 - Stony Brook University is closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information on the Ebola virus outbreak in several West African countries.

Currently, the CDC states that this outbreak does not pose a significant threat in the United States.

However, the CDC has issued warnings to avoid non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, because of the worsening situation in those countries, and an alert to practice enhanced precautions for travel to Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dr. Elizabeth Bringsjord, SUNY’s Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, has directed all campuses to prohibit campus-sponsored travel to countries where the CDC has issued a travel warning. Thus, Stony Brook University prohibits campus-sponsored travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

All students, faculty, and staff planning to travel to other West African countries are asked to follow the International Travel Policy of Stony Brook University and complete and submit the electronic travel forms.

For relevant information about the disease, including signs and symptoms, transmission, and risk of exposure, see the CDC Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Page at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/ for relevant information about the disease.

All travelers returning from areas with Ebola cases are asked to monitor their health for 21 days. To contact Student Health Services, see studentaffairs.stonybrook.edu/shs/about/emergency.shtml

Student Health Service web site:
In view of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak in West Africa, Stony Brook University is implementing precautions to address concerns of the campus community as they pertain to the university’s international students who have traveled from the affected areas.  The Stony Brook Student Health Service is relying on public health resources to provide information and links to the most up-to-date and accurate information available.

The university is reaching out to members of the student body with known ties to countries affected by the Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak.

Currently there have been no cases in the U.S. of Ebola transmission. The risk of being exposed anywhere in the U.S. is very low.

Because of the outbreak in West Africa the CDC has issued a travel warning against any nonessential travel to the affected areas.

Ebola is not a food-, water-, or air-borne illness. The virus is transmitted through:

  • direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person; for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms
  • exposure to needles, medical equipment, or other objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions
  • exposure to infected animals (through blood, fluids, or meat)

There are no medications effective in curing the virus, but supportive hospital care can significantly increase survival. Ebola is not transmitted through the air and is not a food-borne or water-borne contagion. Ebola is not contagious until its victims begin to show symptoms, such as a high fever. It is then highly contagious through infected bodily fluids and blood, even after the victim has died.

Students who traveled from the affected areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Lagos, Nigeria, and the Republic of the Congo, who have not had direct contact with the body fluids of symptomatic infected persons or animals, or objects that have been contaminated with body fluids, ie., syringes, should monitor their health for symptoms of infection over the next 21 days.

Any student with a potential exposure by direct contact with the body fluids of symptomatic infected persons or animals, or objects that have been contaminated should contact the Student Health Service, (631) 632-6740, and monitor their health for symptoms of infection over the next 21 days. Faculty or staff with a potential exposure should contact their health provider.

Anyone traveling to the above-named regions who become ill during their travel or during the 21 days subsequent to their travel — even if only a fever — should phone their health-care provider or the emergency room immediately and inform them about recent travel, potential contacts and symptoms.

Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., a world renowned infectious disease specialist,
to give September 3 lecture on Ebola Virus

On Wednesday, September 3 at 1 pm in the Staller Center for the Arts Main Stage, Stony Brook University President, Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., will deliver a very important Presidential Lecture entitled “Ebola – Risks of Emerging Infections.” The lecture is free and open to the public. 

Dr. StanleyAbout President Stanley
President Stanley is a distinguished biomedical researcher and a prominent name among experts on infectious diseases. He was one of the nation’s highest recipients of support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research focusing on enhanced defense against emerging infectious diseases. Dr. Stanley is an expert in the biological mechanisms that cells employ when responding to infectious agents such as parasites, bacteria and viruses — a process commonly called the inflammatory response. He has published several scholarly articles about the characterization of key proteins and pathways involved in amebic, bacterial and viral infections, blood-borne pathogen risks in hemophilia therapy, and the identification of new strain-specific clones. Better defense against infection is a key focus of his research. Dr. Stanley is Chairman of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which advises the United States government on issues related to the communication, dissemination and performance of sensitive biological research. He was a member of the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council at the NIH and a member of the NIH Director's Blue Ribbon Panel on the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories. 


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