International Health Alerts
August 25, 2016 – Final University Update About Zika Virus
June 10, 2016 – University Update About Zika virus
Feb. 2, 2016 – University Announcement About Zika Virus
Zika Virus: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Zika virus and how is it transmitted?
- Zika virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitos.
- It can be spread from person to person through mosquito bites and through sexual contact.
- Anyone traveling to, or living in, areas where transmission has been reported is at risk of becoming infected. Areas of concern continue to evolve. Updated Zika information including evolving areas of concern, “Areas of Zika” can be found on the CDC website.
- A sexual partner of someone who has traveled to or is living in an active Zika area is at risk of becoming infected.
- A pregnant woman infected with Zika virus can transmit the infection to her baby in utero.
- There are currently no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat Zika virus.
What are the symptoms of Zika virus?
- About 1-in-5 infected people will develop symptoms.
- Common symptoms include: fever, rash, joint ache, red eye, muscle pain, headache.
- Zika virus illness is usually mild and the symptoms may last from a few days to a week.
- Zika infection has been associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome but this is rare.
- Pregnant women who have the disease may have babies with head and brain anomalies as well as other potential birth defects. Pregnant and soon to be pregnant women are the main concern with Zika.
What to do
- When travelling abroad Zika is only one of a number of things to consider. A discussion with a medical provider prior to travel is strongly encouraged.
- If you travel to a Zika area, protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellants, permethrin, nets, air conditioning and screens. Learn more about prevention on the CDC website.
- If you have travelled to a Zika endemic country and you become ill within two weeks with fever, rash, joint ache, red eye, muscle pain or headache seek medical attention and mention your travel history. See below for additional information.
- The CDC recommends the use of mosquito repellant for three weeks after returning from a Zika area to prevent the potential spread of the virus to others via mosquito, even if you were not knowingly infected.
- Georgetown students can seek care or advice at the student health center or (202) 687-2200.
- Georgetown faculty and staff can seek care or advice from their primary care physician or nurse practitioner.
- Georgetown University travel and safety advice
- Additional travel-related information regarding Zika
- Additional Zika information
Oct. 22, 2014 – Update on Ebola Outbreak: Policy on Visitors to Campus
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
- 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 email@example.com. 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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
- The Ebola Outbreak: A Global Conversation and Resources (Georgetown University’s Scholarly Contributions)
- CDC Travel Health Notices
- CDC Questions and Answers on Ebola
- U.S. State Department Travel Alerts and Warnings
- U.S. State Department Ebola Fact Sheet for Travelers
- WHO Ebola What You Need To Know If You Are Traveling