MESSAGES 2014 :: OCTOBER 27, 2014

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Dear Superintendents, Public Information Officers and Principals,

Dr. Ben Matthews, director of Safe and Healthy Schools Support, and Christina K. Minard, Mental and Allied Health consultant, have compiled the following information for you regarding the Ebola virus. They have worked in collaboration with Ann Nichols, State School Health Nurse consultant. Other staff members in Communications also have been participating with the State's coordinated response to the risk of the Ebola virus.

There are NO case/cases in North Carolina.

State level health personnel have been trained on the proper protocols regarding Ebola response and contact investigation, as well as, local Health Department Directors and staff. Local county-wide Emergency Planning meetings should be underway immediately – and all local superintendents should be a part of that process, as with other emergency planning. If you have not been contacted, please call the office of your local Health Director at this time.

The following protocol will be observed in the event that a case of Ebola, or Ebola contact, is reported in North Carolina:

The State and Local Health Department Health Directors have all legal authority related to serious communicable disease issues in North Carolina. The CDC will also be physically present should a possible case present in North Carolina.

Those agencies will direct any school related response, including case investigation, student monitoring, school disinfection, etc.

Some symptoms of Ebola are similar to other routine student illnesses. If it is necessary to call a parent regarding a sick child, it is reasonable to inquire about their recent travel or contact with others who have recently traveled to the affected areas. If you receive information that might warrant a call to your local Health Department, please do so without delay.

Information for the public is available on the North Carolina Public Health website and is summarized below:

An Ebola public information line has been established by Carolinas Poison Center. The number is 1-800-222-1222, and callers should press 6 for questions about Ebola.

Ebola is only contagious after the onset of symptoms. The incubation period before symptoms may appear is 2-21 days, with 8-10 days being the most common. Ebola is spread through unprotected contact with blood or body fluids from someone who is infected. Anyone who becomes ill within 21 days after traveling to an affected area in West Africa should contact a healthcare provider right away and limit their contact with others until they have been evaluated.

Ebola virus Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or through your eyes, nose, or mouth) with •Blood and body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola. •Objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola. Ebola is not spread through the air, water, or food.

There is no FDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola. Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.

Symptoms of Ebola

  • •Fever greater than 101.5°F (38.6°C)
  • •Severe headache •Muscle pain
  • •Weakness •Diarrhea
  • •Vomiting •Abdominal pain
  • •Unexplained bleeding or bruising
To protect yourself from Ebola
  • •DO wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • •Do NOT touch the blood or body fluids (like urine, feces, saliva, vomit, sweat, and semen) of people who are sick.
  • •Do NOT handle items that may have come in contact with a sick person's blood or body fluids, like clothes, bedding, needles, or medical equipment.
  • •Do NOT touch the body of someone who has died of Ebola.
Contact for additional information:
Christina K. Minard, M.S.
Mental and Allied Health Consultant
Safe and Healthy Schools Support Division
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction