Mason Closely Monitoring Ebola Outbreak

Posted: August 13, 2014 at 3:10 pm

George Mason University is closely monitoring information about the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. While the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low, we are taking precautions and working to educate our community.

George Mason is a global university and has students, faculty, and staff from around the world, including all four affected countries. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. State Department have issued warnings against nonessential travel to and from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria.

No students, faculty, or staff of George Mason have reported contact with any persons suspected to be infected with Ebola virus.

George Mason is following the CDCs recommendation and restricting all nonessential university travel for students, faculty, and staff to the affected countries. Those who are considering travel to this region must consult with the Environmental Health and Safety Office at 703-993-8448 or safety@gmu.edu.

The CDC is taking steps to prevent sick travelers from leaving these countries through screening and education efforts on the ground. However, anyone who has concerns should be aware of the symptoms and modes of transmission.

The Ebola virus is not airborne like the flu or measles. It requires close contact with a sick person’s bodily fluids and individuals are not contagious until they are symptomatic. Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to the virus, though eight to 10 days is most common. For a list of symptoms, see the CDC’s fact sheet.

Students with medical questions may contact Student Health Services at 703-993-2831 and ask to speak to a nurse who will advise them of appropriate care.

Faculty and staff with medical questions should contact their primary care physician.  In addition, each of Mason’s health insurance providers has a 24/7 nurse line available: Anthem (COVA) 1-800-337 4770; Aetna (COVA HealthAware) 1-800-556-1555; Kaiser Permanente 1-800-777-7904.

For additional resources and information about the Ebola outbreak, please visit the CDC’s and State Department’s websites:

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html

For a map of affected regions please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/resources/distribution-map-guinea-outbreak.html

S. David Wu

Provost and Executive Vice President