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Health Center Reminders

Ebola Information


Sweet Briar College Health Services is monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health and in collaboration with the Lynchburg Department of Health and other area colleges with regard to concerns about the Ebola Virus. Dr. Rosie Taylor-Lewis, director of health services at Sweet Briar, has attended conference calls and meetings concerning the Ebola virus with other local, regional and national colleges and receives updated information regularly. SBC Health and Counseling Services will inform the campus community when new information becomes available. 


Update from the CDC, 10/22/14: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that public health authorities will begin active post-arrival monitoring of travelers whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea. Find more information at cdc.gov.

It is important that the health center identify anyone — student, faculty or staff — who has plans to travel to any of these affected countries.  

Please contact the health center ASAP at rtlewis@sbc.edu, dmays@sbc.edu or (434) 381-6140 if you have had recent travel or plan to travel to any of these areas. The staff at the health center has been trained on the signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus and how to assess for risk of infection. In addition to advising the health center, staff and faculty returning from an affected area who feel symptomatic should also contact their primary care physician immediately.  

Sweet Briar College Health and Counseling Services is coordinating with the Office of International Studies to monitor students who are currently participating in college-sponsored international programs.

Please note that Sweet Briar College policy prohibits college-sponsored travel to countries that have been placed under U.S. State Department Travel Warning.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers from the CDC website:

What are body fluids? 

Ebola has been detected in blood and many body fluids. Body fluids include saliva, mucus, vomit, feces, sweat, tears, breast milk, urine and semen.

What does “direct contact” mean?

Direct contact means that body fluids (blood, saliva, mucus, vomit, urine or feces) from an infected person (alive or dead) have touched someone’s eyes, nose or mouth or an open cut, wound or abrasion.

Can Ebola be spread by coughing or sneezing?

There is no evidence indicating that the Ebola virus is spread by coughing or sneezing. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola; the virus is not transmitted through the air (like the measles virus). However, droplets (e.g. splashes or sprays) of respiratory or other secretions from a person who is sick with Ebola could be infectious, and therefore certain precautions (called standard, contact and droplet precautions) are recommended for use in healthcare settings to prevent the transmission of the Ebola virus from patients sick with Ebola to healthcare personnel and other patients or family members.

How long does Ebola live outside the body?

Ebola is killed with hospital-grade disinfectants (such as household bleach). Ebola on dry surfaces, such as doorknobs and countertops, can survive for several hours; however, in body fluids (such as blood), the virus can survive up to several days at room temperature.

Are patients who recover from Ebola immune for life? Can they get it again — the same or a different strain?

Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and a patient’s immune response.

Available evidence shows that people who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, possibly longer.

We don’t know if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola.

If someone survives Ebola, can he or she still spread the virus? 

Once someone recovers from Ebola, they can no longer spread the virus. However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to 3 months. Abstinence from sex (including oral sex) is recommended for at least 3 months. If abstinence is not possible, condoms may help prevent the spread of disease.

Can Ebola be spread through mosquitoes?

There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can transmit the Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to spread and become infected with Ebola.

Can Ebola be spread through blood transfusions?

Some people in the United States who rely on blood and blood products to maintain their health have raised concerns about blood safety related to Ebola. The CDC has systems in place to monitor blood safety.

Scientific evidence indicates that the virus can be passed to others from infected patients only when they start to show symptoms.

To date, there have been no reports of transfusion-transmitted Ebola in countries experiencing widespread outbreaks. However, these countries do not have systems to monitor the safety of blood products. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has policies in place for whole blood donations that would result in deferral of potential donors from countries in Africa experiencing the Ebola outbreak due to the risk of malaria. In addition, plasma-derived products have viral clearance steps that have been demonstrated to be effective for lipid-enveloped viruses. It is likely that Ebola virus would be inactivated by such methods used in the manufacture of plasma derivatives because it is a lipid-enveloped virus.

The FDA is considering issuing guidance for blood establishments related to this issue. The CDC has no recommendations at this time.

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

CDC Resources for Colleges and Universities


World Health Organization: Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

American College Health Association: Ebola Resources

Q&A from Emory Healthcare Physicians on Ebola (Video)

 

 

Health History, Physical Exam and Immunization Requirements

Sweet Briar College requires that ALL incoming and transfer students provide a current health history, physical exam and proof of immunization upon admission. All health records are due by June 30, 2013, for students enrolling in the fall 2013 and by Jan. 10, 2014, for students enrolling in spring 2014. Students who are delinquent in any details outlined below will not be able to register for classes. Health Services will assist students with obtaining any requirement that has not been met and will incur a fee for the service.

Required vaccines include:

  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)
  • Polio, Tetanus/Diphtheria
  • Meningitis (MCV4) *
  • Hepatitis B

The following immunizations are not required at SBC, but are recommended:

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis A and B Combination Vaccine
  • Influenza (Flu) Trivalent

Tuberculosis Screening/PPD is required and should be completed by your health care provider to assess risk for Tuberculosis infection. Please review the questions on the pre-entrance health form. The physician signature on this portion of the form is required. If you have tested positive in the past, documentation of a negative chest x-ray is necessary. If you answered yes to any of the questions on the form, a two-step PPD test or a Quantiferon TB test is indicated.

*Two doses of MCV4 are recommended for adolescents 11 through 18 years of age: the first dose at 11 or 12 years of age, with a booster dose at age 16. If the first dose (or series) is given between 13 and 15 years of age, the booster should be given between 16 and 18. If the first dose (or series) is given after the 16th birthday, a booster is not needed. Meningococcal Meningitis is a serious and sometimes fatal disease which affects the brain and spinal cord. This disease continues to increase on college campuses. The safe and effective vaccine provides protection against 4 of the 5 types of Meningitis. If you received the first vaccine before age 14, a second booster is required upon entering college.

If your daughter has a medical or religious exemption status for vaccines, please make sure the exemption is documented in her SBC student health records before June 30, 2013, or Jan. 10, 2014, for students entering in the spring.

Athletes, education and pre-health majors may require annual screening or additional immunizations.  

Due to potential seasonal vaccine shortages, we recommend that your daughter receive her vaccinations from her local physician’s office or health department prior to arriving on campus.

For more information on the Frequently Asked Questions about the health center, click here.

Please call (434) 381-6140 or email your questions to health@sbc.edu.