Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Resource Page
This page contains information on the status of current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreaks in Africa and isolated cases in the United States, as well as general preparedness information.
For more general information about the Ebola virus and EVD including signs and symptoms, treatment, and precautionary measures, please visit the following sites:
- Centers for Disease Control EVD Information
- Santa Cruz County Public Health Department EVD Information
- UC Santa Cruz Student Health Center EVD Information
What is the Ebola virus?
The Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since that time, a total of five strains of the virus have been identified, four of which are transferable to humans. Several outbreaks have been documented since that time in African nations where the virus is found.
EVD is spread by direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids. There is no documented evidence of EVD being spread by airborne or other routes.
EVD generally presents initially with flu-like symptoms within 21 days of exposure to infected blood or other bodily fluids. As the disease progresses, it leads to internal and external bleeding which is the common cause of death from the disease and the source of the term "hemorrhagic fever" which was previously used to describe the disease.
There are currently two outbreaks of EVD in African nations, one affecting several West African nations and another unrelated outbreak isolated to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The 2014 West African Outbreak is the largest in history and has resulted in over 14,000 cases and over 5,000 deaths as of mid-November 2014. The majority of the cases relating to this outbreak have occurred in the following three West African countries:
- Sierra Leone
In addition, a small number of cases in the following countries have been linked to exposures initially occurring in the three countries listed above:
- United States
The outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - which is considered unrelated to the West African outbreak - has resulted in a much smaller number of cases and has not spread outside the affected area at this time.
Cases in the United States
As of November 2014, there have been two cases (one fatal) in the United States involving travelers who had recently returned from the affected African nations and developed symptoms after their return. There have been two additional cases (neither fatal) involving healthcare workers who developed EVD after treating one of these patients.
Additionally, there have been several healthcare workers who became ill while in West Africa and were transported to the United States for treatment - no additional cases have been linked to these instances at this time.
Travel Health Notices
The CDC recommends avoiding all non-essential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia due to the ongoing EVD outbreak affecting those countries and has issued the following Level 3 warnings:
Based on these warnings, UC Santa Cruz strongly discourages any travel by students, faculty, or staff to the affected countries.
A complete list of CDC Travel Health Notices is available for other public health issues worldwide.
UC Santa Cruz Response
In line with the CDC's Advice for Colleges, Universities, and Students about Ebola in West Africa, UC Santa Cruz has taken the following actions:
- The campus has convened its pandemic planning group to review campus procedures and ensure that proper protocols are in place to respond to any health emergency on campus. This group is chaired by the AVC of Risk and Safety Services.
- Students, faculty, and staff are discouraged from traveling to the affected West African countries.
- Student Health Services made available medical monitoring for any students who may have traveled to the affected nations over the summer - no such travel has been identified.
- Student Health Services also surveyed international students from the affected nations to determine if any had traveled to their home nations during the summer - no such travel was identified.
- Risk Services has reviewed international travel data through the UC Business Travel registration process to identify any student, staff, or faculty travel to the affected nations and is continuing to monitor registrations on an ongoing basis - no such travel has been identified to date.
- Risk Services has reviewed occupational health practices for faculty and staff and will ensure that treatment for any potential occupational cases of EVD is handled in accordance with CDC and Santa Cruz Public Health guidelines.
- Student Health Services has conducted training for health center staff on the signs and symptoms of EVD as well as refresher training on the proper use, donning, and doffing of protective equipment used in the health center. Student Health Services also continues to provide periodic updates on the situation to staff and participated in a planning meeting for county healthcare providers sponsored by the Santa Cruz Public Health Department.
UC Santa Cruz units with responsibility for public health, emergency preparedness, and campus safety continue to monitor this evolving situation and will take additional actions as the situation warrants. If you have specific questions or concerns about your own health, please contact Student Health Services at (831) 459-2500 to schedule an appointment or at (831) 459-2211 for general questions.