The first case of the Ebola virus in the United States was diagnosed on Tuesday, September 30, by the Centers for Disease Control at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. That patient, sadly, has passed away. His immediate associates are being closely observed by health authorities who have placed restrictions on those individuals' mobility. None of them is reported to have shown symptoms thus far. Two nurses involved in caring for the first patient have tested positive for the virus and are being cared for.
The CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services are managing the case in cooperation with the Dallas County Health Department and Texas Health Presbyterian. The University is carefully monitoring the situation through these agencies.
Ebola is very rare and is not spread through airborne transmission
What is Ebola?
Some countries in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone) are experiencing an outbreak (dramatic increase in number of cases) of Ebola. Although this virus is rare in the United States, three cases of Ebola have been diagnosed in Dallas County. It is important to know the facts and take precautions.
Ebola is a virus transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected, symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected blood or bodily fluids.
What are the symptoms of Ebola?
Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and in some cases, bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, or rectum.
How can I protect myself and others?
- Avoid all contact with blood and body fluids of infected people or animals.
- Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
- If you lived in, visited or stayed in any of the areas where Ebola cases have been recently reported, seek medical attention if you feel sick or have any of the symptoms listed above. Students who are unsure of their symptoms should contact the Student Health Center at 972.883.2747. Faculty and staff should consult their primary care physician.
- If you have a fever of 100 degrees or higher, or any of the symptoms listed above do not report to work or school.
- For more information related to the recent Ebola outbreak by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/ebola.)
Frequently Asked Questions About Ebola
Q: How is The University of Texas at Dallas monitoring the Ebola situation in Dallas?
A: The University continues to monitor the situation closely through daily contact with national, state and local health agencies. The UT Dallas Office of Emergency Management also communicates internally to Student Affairs, the Student Health Center, Student Housing, the International Center, Office of Communications and Police Department.
Q: Has anyone at UT Dallas had contact with any of the Ebola patients in Dallas?
A: The original travel-related patient had no known direct ties to anyone at UT Dallas. Recently, two nurses who cared for the original patient have been confirmed to have the virus. They have been transferred to hospitals outside Texas. The Centers for Disease Control and other health officials continue to gather information on people who had contact with these new patients.
Q: How is UT Dallas keeping the campus safe from Ebola?
A: UT Dallas has developed an action plan to protect the campus community.
- The campus community has been advised to observe normal health precautions to prevent any illness, including washing your hands frequently, covering sneezes and coughs, and getting immunizations, including an annual flu shot.
- Early symptoms of Ebola are similar to that of the flu. Symptoms include a fever of greater than 101.5, severe headache, muscle pain and weakness, diarrhea and vomiting. Students, faculty and staff have been told that if they exhibit these symptoms they should visit a healthcare provider.
- The UT Dallas Student Health Center in the Student Services Building is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday. Students can call the center at 972.883.2747. Faculty and staff should consult their primary care physician. In a health emergency, individuals on campus should call UTD Police at 911 or 972.883.2222.
- Faculty, staff and students may also contact the University’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety at 972.883.4111.
Q: What happens if someone on campus has been exposed to Ebola?
A: If an individual on campus reports a possible exposure to Ebola, the University would notify local health authorities at the City of Richardson as well as the Dallas County and Collin County health departments. CDC guidelines state that those exposed to the Ebola virus should have their health monitored for 21 days following exposure.
Q: What is the most updated information about Ebola?
A: Ebola is a rare but deadly disease, according to the CDC. The disease is spread by contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is infected and showing symptoms of the disease. More information can be found on the CDC website. The CDC also has put together a page with advice for colleges, universities and students about Ebola in West Africa.
A Message from President Daniel: