October 22, 2014
To the Campus Community,
Please read the following important message from Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, director of CSUN’s Klotz Student Health Center, regarding the measures CSUN is taking to ensure the health and safety of the campus community.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.
California State University, Northridge
A message from Dr. Yolanda (Linda) Reid Chassiakos, director of CSUN’s Klotz Student Health Center, regarding campus Ebolapreparation:
California State University, Northridge is committed to the health and safety of our campus community. While there have been no reports of cases of Ebola in California, we want to assure you that we are closely monitoring the situation and taking precautionary measures.
Currently, there are only three countries - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - where the Ebola outbreak is active. (Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a small outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is unrelated.) The Ebola virus does not pose a significant threat to the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. There have only been three diagnosed cases in the U.S., again, none in California.
The Klotz Student Health Center has implemented intensive and broad policies and procedures to identify and triage for Ebola exposure or infection in the unlikely event that there is a case here. These policies include screening of all patients for travel and exposure history, as well as protocols for immediately isolating and safely addressing the health needs of anyone who might be at high risk, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LADPH) Acute Communicable Diseases Division.
At the student health center, we are working with CSUN’s Environmental Health and Safety Department to ensure protection of our facilities and environments as appropriate for the safety of our patients and staff, and all student health center clinical staff have received updated training in the latest protocols and in the use of and access to full-body personal protective equipment to prevent infection and spread of the virus if it appears at the center. We also are monitoring CDC, California Department of Public Health, LADPH and World Health Organization communications daily, and continue to update policies and procedures, as well as staff training and patient safety measures, as necessary under these changing conditions.
If an individual has potentially been exposed to Ebola, it is recommended that that person contact their physician by phone. I also invite CSUN students, faculty and staff to contact the Klotz Student Health Center if you have any questions or concerns, and to monitor the CDC website for new information and updates. While there is no travel ban to the affected areas from the U.S. at this time, the student health center is offering all students, faculty and staff who are considering travel to a high-risk area the opportunity for a free consultation with our Travel Clinic prior to travel so that the latest CDC recommendations can be reviewed and discussed.
The CDC reports that Ebola is not a food-, water- or air-borne illness. The virus is transmitted through:
direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person. For the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an Ebola-infected individual who is ill or experiencing symptoms.
exposure to needles, medical equipment or other objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions, and
exposure to infected animals.
Being prepared in advance, as well as remaining updated and knowledgeable about the best practices related to limiting and controlling a communicable disease, is essential to protecting our campus.
For more information about Ebola Virus Disease, please visit the CDC’s Ebola Information website http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/. For Ebola guidance specific to centers of higher education, please see the CDC’s Advice for Colleges, Universities, and Students at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/advice-for-colleges-universities-and-students-about-ebola-in-west-africa (update 12/2019: the preceding link is no longer active and refers users back to http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/).
Finally, as we enter the flu season, I encourage everyone to get the influenza vaccine. The influenza virus can be easily spread through coughing, sneezing, talking and physical contact with virus-infected droplets. As many as one in five Americans get the flu each year, and more than 200,000 are hospitalized because of influenza. With the holidays approaching, many of us will be traveling and using crowded public transportation such as buses, trains and airplanes. A flu vaccine can provide immunity to many flu strains and keep you healthy. Consult your physician about getting a flu immunization, or call the Klotz Student Health Center to make an appointment to receive the quadrivalent flu vaccine that protects against four common strains of influenza. The cost is only $19 for CSUN students, faculty and staff. To schedule an appointment at the Klotz Student Health Center, please call (818) 677-3666, Option 1.