Ebola Virus Information

Nov. 3, 2014 - An Update on Georgetown’s Ebola Preparedness from the Office of the President 
Oct. 22, 2014 - Update on Ebola Outbreak: Policy on Visitors to Campus
Oct. 8, 2014 - Update on Ebola Outbreak: Georgetown’s Travel Policies and Health Protocol 
Aug. 1, 2014 - University Announcement about Ebola in West Africa 

THE EBOLA VIRUS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Ebola?

According to the CDC website, Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent this from happening.

What is Georgetown doing to in response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa?

Georgetown is following the CDC’s recently released guidance about Ebola in West Africa in our response-planning efforts. In order to protect our campus community from the Ebola virus, before coming onto campus we ask that any faculty, staff or students who, in the last 21 days, have:

  • traveled to a region with known outbreaks of Ebola; or
  • had direct exposure to a person known to have an Ebola infection

or, who plan to travel to a region with known outbreaks of Ebola, contact Joseph Yohe, Associate Vice President for Risk Management at 202-687-6622 or joseph.yohe@georgetown.edu. Members of our community are expected to follow our monitoring protocols, which will be determined based on individualized risk assessment.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

According to the CDC, symptoms of Ebola are:

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days. Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

What should I do if I have recently traveled to a country with an Ebola outbreak and I experience Ebola symptoms?

If you are experiencing symptoms, it is important to seek medical care immediately. Before you go to the emergency room, inform your doctor about recent travel to West Africa or any contact you have had with a person who was sick with Ebola so they are prepared to care for you and protect other people. In addition, if you are experiencing symptoms, please also notify Joseph Yohe, Associate Vice President for Risk Management, at 202-687-6622 or joseph.yohe@georgetown.edu.

How is Ebola spread?

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with

  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • infected animals

Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.

What is Georgetown’s policy on visitors, given the Ebola outbreak?

Before bringing any visitors to any of Georgetown's campuses (these include main campus; the Georgetown University Medical Center; the Georgetown University Law Center; the School of Continuing Studies; and the School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar) whom you have reason to believe have, within the past month, been in a country that is subject to a Level 3 CDC Travel Warning, you must contact Joseph Yohe, Associate Vice President for Risk Management at 202-687-6622 or joseph.yohe@georgetown.edu.

This requirement applies if you are bringing individuals to campus to participate in University-sponsored activities or to visit you for personal reasons. Prospective visitors will be expected to comply with our instructions and protocols, which will be based on an individualized risk assessment, including factors such as travel history and time since travel. 


Additional Information for Travelers about Ebola in West Africa