Information on Ebola Virus and Travel

Brown University is closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) information on the Ebola virus outbreak in several West African countries.  The CDC elevated their warning to U.S. citizens (Travel Alert Level 3) encouraging them to defer unnecessary travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone over concerns that travelers to these countries may not have access to health care facilities and personnel should they need them.  In addition, the University is closely monitoring the outbreak in Africa and will communicate with local officials, hospitals and emergency response agencies regularly to assess the situation.

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about Ebola

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease, discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There have been a number of outbreaks since its identification. The current outbreak has been ongoing in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and now Nigeria for several months.

How is Ebola transmitted?

It is transmitted to people from wild animals, and spreads from human to human through direct contact, as when broken skin or mucous membranes come into contact with blood, bodily secretions, or needles contaminated with infected bodily fluids. Ebola is NOT airborne, foodborne or waterborne. A person is infectious to others only when they have symptoms of illness.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

Individuals who have travelled to affected countries need to monitor their symptoms for 21 days following their departure.

Symptoms begin abruptly with fever, malaise and headache, with diarrhea within 2-21 days of infection. Symptoms usually occur 8-10 days after direct contact with body substances of an infected person.  As at any time, if you are experiencing symptoms of any infectious illness, please delay your return to campus until you have recovered and are no longer contagious. If while on campus you experience signs of illness, especially fever, vomiting or diarrhea, severe pain or weakness, or unusual bleeding or bruising, please consult promptly with Brown University Health Services (UHS). Please be sure to alert UHS of the dates of your travel to affected countries.

Should travel to that part of West Africa be cancelled?

Faculty, staff and students of Brown University, in keeping with the level 3 warning from the CDC, should avoid or defer any unnecessary travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Those planning travel to Nigeria should be aware of the level 2 warning from the CDC and monitor the situation closely.

What is being done to monitor the students who have been in the affected countries?

Brown Health Services will follow the recommendations of the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) and CDC for community members who know they were exposed to a person with Ebola within the previous 21 days. Note that at present there have been no cases of individuals contracting Ebola in the US.

Where can I get more information?

While the risk to the Brown community is very small, we are nonetheless closely monitoring information about the virus and following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Based on the information available from experts, no special precautions are recommended now for anyone in the United States.

For more information, please see the August 18, 2014 letter to the Brown community.

Students may contact Health Services with any questions or concerns 401-863-1330.