Policy on Ebola Screening

It is the objective of the University of South Alabama to provide its students, faculty, and staff with a safe environment for education and work.  At present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued warning travel notices for individuals traveling to and from African countries infected by Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).  By this Policy on Ebola Screening, the University of South Alabama is following the recommendations of the CDC with regard to colleges and universities.  The CDC does not recommend that colleges and universities isolate or quarantine students, faculty, or employees at this time based on travel history alone.  For information about Ebola in general, please visit www.usahealthsystem.com/ebola.

Based on the recommendations of the CDC, and local experts, the University of South Alabama requires the following:      

  1. Any student, faculty, or staff who has been to Africa within the past 21 days or are planning travel to Africa, must identify themselves.   

    These students, faculty, and staff must identify themselves by completing this Ebola travel questionnaire and submitting it to the Student Health Center or appropriate USA Hospital. 

  2. The University of South Alabama will conduct a risk assessment of any student, faculty or staff member who is determined to be at risk for EVD.  Such risk assessment shall consist of sending the identified student, faculty, or staff member to the Student Health Center, at the cost of the University, for EVD screening, including a blood test for the presence of Ebola, if indicated.

  3. Risk factors for EVD include:

    A.  Travel to an African country within the past 21 days.

    OR

    B.  Close contact with an individual who has traveled to an African country, or who has been diagnosed with EVD in the past 2 months. 

    AND

    C.  Has the following symptoms: 
              • Fever (subjective or > 100.4 ◦F or 38.0◦C)
              • Headache
              • Nausea and vomiting
              • Abdominal pain or diarrhea
              • Muscle/Joint pain and weakness
              • Unexplained hemorrhage

  4. If a student, faculty, or staff member is determined to have a potential EVD exposure, state or local public health authorities will be notified and the University of South Alabama will consult with public health and local authorities for guidance about how that person should be monitored.  Anyone with a potential exposure will receive education from USA Health Services or public health authorities about immediately reporting symptoms and staying away from other people if symptoms develop.

  5. Any student, faculty, or staff member who is determined to have a potential EVD exposure will be assessed for their ability to continue at work or at educational studies by a certified healthcare provider or public health official.

  6. According to the CDC, Ebola poses little risk to the US general population and is not contagious until symptoms appear.  It is spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids (such as urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, and semen) of an infected person, or with objects like needles that have been contaminated with the virus.  This includes through intimate contact, such as sex, since Ebola can be found in semen for a prolonged period of time after a person has recovered.

  7. It is always good to avoid contact with anyone who is sick and to wash your hands regularly.  Use soap and water if available or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  Doing so can help prevent getting sick from many different illnesses.  Additionally, everyone is encouraged to receive influenza vaccination.