Current Infectious Diseases and Flu
2014 Ebola Advisory
The Angelo State University Health Clinic and the Center for International Studies would like to remind students traveling in or from western Africa of a potential health concern called Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe, often-fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees) that has appeared on the western coast of Africa (specifically the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea). This viral infection causes acute symptoms of high fever, muscle pain and weakness, headache, sore throat followed by vomiting and diarrhea, and sometimes internal and external bleeding. Some patients have had kidney failure and about 50 percent of people infected with the virus have died. Ebola has been shown to spread between people who are in close contact with infected body fluids including saliva, secretions, and blood. Currently there is no vaccine and treatment involves supportive IV fluid hydration, blood transfusion when necessary and possibly experimental medications.
Persons returning from an affected area but have not had direct contact with the body fluids of symptomatic infected persons or animals, or objects that have been contaminated with body fluids, should monitor their health for 10 days. Those with a potential exposure should monitor their health for 21 days post exposure. Regardless, any traveler who becomes ill while traveling, even if only a fever, should consult a health-care provider immediately and tell him or her about their recent travel and potential contacts. Tell the provider about your symptoms prior to going to the office or emergency room so arrangements can be made, if necessary, to prevent transmission to others in the health-care setting.
The likelihood of contracting any viral hemorrhagic fever, including Ebola, is considered extremely low unless there has been direct contact with the body fluids of symptomatic infected persons or animals, or objects that have been contaminated with body fluids. All travelers can take these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of illness:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub your hands vigorously.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Illnesses spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
The university would like for everyone to have a happy and healthy arrival to ASU and encourages anyone who has traveled abroad to stay informed by following the Centers for Disease Control website.
2014 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Advisory
The Angelo State University Health Clinic and the Center for International Studies would like to remind students arriving from the Arabian Peninsula of a potential health concern called MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). MERS is a viral respiratory illness that causes severe acute symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some patients have had kidney failure and about 30 percent of people infected with MERS have died. MERS has been shown to spread between people who are in close contact and currently there is no vaccine or effective treatment.
Travelers from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula are encouraged to follow standard precautions, such as good hand washing and avoiding contact with people who are ill. If you develop a fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after traveling from countries in the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries, you should see a provider at the Health Clinic or your healthcare provider and be certain to mention your recent travel.
All travelers can take these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of germs and protect against colds, flu, and other illnesses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Be sure you are up-to-date with all of your shots, and if possible, see your health care provider at least 4–6 weeks before travel to get any additional shots.
If you are sick:
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid contact with other people to keep from infecting them. This might mean delaying your travel until you are well.
The university would like for everyone to have a happy and healthy arrival to ASU and encourages anyone who has traveled abroad to stay informed by reading the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization websites.
Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Approximately 5–20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu each year.
- Flu season typically starts in the fall and peaks in January or February.
- Getting the flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu.
- Flu-related complications include pneumonia and dehydration.
- Illness from seasonal flu usually lasts one to two weeks.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
Flu symptoms include:
- A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever) Disposable thermometers are available at the UC Information Desk and your Residence Hall desk operations. If you have the symptoms listed below and a fever, you may have the flu and should contact the University Clinic at 325-942-2171 ASAP. You should also seek to limit your contact with others immediately.
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
- All types of flu have similar symptoms. Although the flu and common cold have similar symptoms, the flu tends to be more severe.
- Flu symptoms include a fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough.
How does seasonal flu spread?
Most experts believe that you get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.
What is the best way to protect myself and my family from the flu?
Everyone 6 months of age or older should get the flu vaccine. It is available now at the University Clinic to students for $10 per vaccine.
What everyday steps can I take to stop the spread of germs?
There are steps you can take in your daily life to help protect you from getting the flu.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
Serogroup B Meningococcal Disease Outbreaks
The following information on serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreaks is provided by ACHA’s Vaccine-Preventable Disease Advisory Committee after consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The ongoing serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak at Princeton University brings national attention to an issue of longstanding importance to the college health community. The dramatic decline in cases of meningococcal disease since the late 1990s coincides with the widespread use of the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine in adolescents and students entering college. The ASU Health Clinic provides this vaccine for a fee to incoming freshmen and area students.
Outbreaks of serogroup B meningococcal disease are rare. Since the first case last spring, Princeton officials have collaborated diligently with local and state public health officials and the CDC. After the third case (which defines an outbreak), CDC initiated discussions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to acquire Bexsero, the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine that is licensed in Europe and Australia, to be made available for this specific outbreak. Cases of meningococcal disease are reportable in every state, and no spread beyond the Princeton campus has occurred or is expected.
It is well known that the close quarters of campus residence hall living puts students at increased risk for meningococcal disease. Educating the campus community in the following ways may help reduce risk:
- Take this opportunity to educate students and parents about the importance of the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccines and the need for a booster dose for students entering college if the first dose was given prior to age 16.
- Highlight the importance of good hygiene measures such as not smoking, avoiding secondhand smoke, and not sharing drinking and eating utensils and other items that have contacted saliva.
- Increase awareness of the early signs of disease and the need for quick treatment and prompt notification of local public health officials for a suspected case, allowing prompt post-exposure antibiotic prophylaxis.