MSU update on Ebola outbreak (Oct. 21, 2014)

Dear Spartan community:

The outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa has attracted worldwide attention, and both international and domestic public health authorities are working diligently to stop the spread of the infection. Amid heavy media coverage of the infection in West Africa and the small outbreak in Dallas, Texas, MSU leaders recognize that members of the campus community are concerned over the threat this disease could pose to campus.

It is important to note that the risk of being exposed to Ebola at MSU (or anywhere in the United States) is extremely low. The only way to be infected with the virus is to have direct contact with the body fluids (urine, feces, vomit, sweat, semen, saliva) of a person who is sick with Ebola. The Ebola virus is not an airborne infection, and cannot be transmitted through food, water or air. It is not considered a public health threat in the United States.

MSU has been working closely with its public health partners (Michigan Department of Community Health, Ingham County Health Department and local hospitals) to monitor this issue. The university is following guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for higher education institutions. Additionally, MSU’s health care providers, both on campus and in the community, are reviewing procedures and protocols in the unlikely case someone is infected locally and seeks treatment.

Campus leaders also are in close touch with those members of the community who are known to have traveled to the affected countries in West Africa. The university asks if you are a student or faculty/staff member who has traveled to one of the affected countries in West Africa (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea) within the last 21 days, please call the University Physician’s Office at 517-353-8933 or email uphys@msu.edu. Also, if you plan on traveling to those countries for personal reasons, please contact the University Physician’s office prior to departure. MSU has no official travel scheduled to the affected region at this time.

For more information, please visit the CDC Ebola Outbreak page at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html and an FAQ at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/qa.html.

Thank you,
David Weismantel, MD, MS
University Physician