UALR — and others — are following cautionary guidance from the Arkansas Health Department and urging people who’ve traveled recently to several African countries to check in with health offices as a precaution on account of the Ebola outbreak.
The Health Department sees an “extremely low risk to Arkansas,” but is also recommending increased surveillance for risks. That means recommending a doctor’s office visit for anyone who’s traveled to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria in the last 21 days.
Here’s the full UALR letter:
As you know, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa to be a world health emergency. Efforts to contain the spread of EVD are being focused on three main areas:
1. On-the-ground efforts in the endemic areas (Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, & Nigeria) to identify cases and prevent further spread;
2. Prevention of transmission outside of the endemic areas by screening travelers leaving those countries and also before entering other countries;
3. Increasing surveillance for those at risk.
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has released guidance for educators and businesses about the Ebola Virus Disease. [See attached.] EVD poses an “extremely low risk to Arkansas,” according to the ADH guidance. At this time there have been no cases and no suspected cases of EVD in Arkansas. “The most critical step to prevent transmission of EVD is to identify those persons that have traveled from affected countries (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria) in the last 21 days.”
Toward that end, ADH recommends that colleges and universities throughout Arkansas identify any faculty, staff, and/or students who have traveled to and/or departed from the countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, or Nigeria within the past 21 days, and to have these individuals report to their university health offices for further education and monitoring.
If you (or someone you know) has traveled to or departed from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Nigeria in the past 21 days, please report to or refer them to UALR Health Services for further education, evaluation, and monitoring for EVD. Please contact Marie Sandusky, Health Services director, 569-3188, email@example.com.
Students and university employees traveling from these countries who are not having any symptoms are considered “low risk” and pose no threat to the general public; therefore, they are not required to be isolated from the community. However, they are being requested to report to their university health offices.
For further questions, including links and phone numbers to ADH and the CDC regarding the Ebola Virus Disease, see the attached guidance.
Joel E. Anderson