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Ebola Letter

Open Letter to the Ferris State University Community

Because we recognize that you likely have heard recent news reports of the emerging Ebola infection, Birkam Health Center and the Ferris State University Communicable Disease Committee wanted to share with you how we are monitoring the situation and any potential impact for the Ferris State University community.

The Birkam Health Center monitors all infectious disease updates and alerts through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Health Alert Network (MIHAN). These systems are in place to help us become informed as soon as a potential health threat presents itself so we can then inform and educate the campus community. In addition, we are working closely with the Office of International Education, Health Department District #10, Big Rapids Public Safety and first responders, FSU DPS and Spectrum Health-Big Rapids Hospital to ensure health and safety for all Ferris students.

Ebola is a virus that is highly contagious and while the experts are learning more and more every day, your likelihood of being exposed to or catching the virus is extremely low. According to the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) the Ebola virus is not spread through casual contact; infection requires direct contact with the blood or secretions of a person who is ill with the virus. The main risk factor for this disease is direct contact with another person who is sick with the virus.

Travel to certain parts of the world is not alone a risk factor but does increase risk if travel is to or from specific regions in West Africa (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Lagos, Nigeria). Please read the CDC Travel Warnings before engaging in international travel, especially to the areas where risk of exposure is highest.

If you traveled to or from or are in close physical contact with someone who has traveled to or from the high risk regions within the last 21 days AND have a fever greater than 101.5°F with or without additional symptoms, you should call your primary health care provider and tell them of your recent travel and symptoms.

If you are a student and have traveled in these countries within the last 21 days or have been around/close to someone else who has AND are having symptoms, you should remain at home or in your room and call the Birkam Health Center at 231-591-2614 for further instructions regarding evaluation or go directly to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Our hope is that this information will better help you understand your risk level and to feel confident that Birkam Health Center is monitoring the situation along with several key community resources.

For additional information, see the CDC websites on Ebola or visit the Birkam Health Center webpage and tab titled Communicable Diseases.

Sincerely,
Birkam Health Center and the
FSU Communicable Disease Committee