CDC Advises Colleges to Watch for Ebola

Ebola outbreak leads US health officials to recommend against travel to affected West African countries

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Students are returning to college campuses across the United States. But some may have plans to study abroad — maybe in West Africa. Due to the Ebola outbreak ravaging that region, US health officials are warning against such travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised people to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — the countries hit hardest by the outbreak.

The agency also said that colleges and universities should monitor students and workers returning from the outbreak region. Anyone who has traveled to the region and develops a high fever or other signs of Ebola should seek care immediately.

"Pay close attention to your health if you've visited the Ebola outbreak region."

In an advisory message, the CDC said its recommendations against nonessential travel — which includes education-related travel — are meant to control the outbreak in two ways.

First, the recommendations are meant to protect people in the US who would be traveling to the affected areas.

Second, they are intended to help the countries affected by Ebola better respond to the outbreak. The health care systems of these countries are strained as it is. Even if US residents don't get Ebola, they could need medical care for other reasons, and that would put further strain on the health care system.

The CDC said that people who have recently come from the affected West African region should take their temperature twice a day and watch for Ebola symptoms. Symptoms may include severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.

The agency said that patients whose temperature rises above 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or who show other signs of Ebola should seek medical attention immediately. Before arriving at the doctor's office or hospital, patients should call and tell their doctor about their recent travel and symptoms. This advanced notice allows the doctor to take steps to protect other people from becoming infected.

The agency also advised people who suspect they are infected to avoid public transportation and limit their contact with other people.

"Do not go to work, classes or other student activities until you have been medically evaluated," the CDC wrote.

Review Date: 
September 3, 2014
Last Updated:
October 8, 2014