Letter From Dr. Angela Dejulius to Students in Kent State Community

LETTER FROM DR. ANGELA DEJULIUS, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY HEALTH SERVICES

Dear Students and the Kent State Community,

I understand the fears you may be experiencing in light of the news that the second nurse diagnosed with Ebola recently visited Northeast Ohio and interacted with her relatives, including three employees who work at our Kent Campus. I’d like to thank you for staying calm during this unsettling time. This is what we know as of today.

As the patient did not visit Kent State University during her stay in Northeast Ohio, Kent State’s students and employees were NOT exposed to the Ebola virus on campus. Upon learning of the Ebola case, Kent State took the immediate precaution of excluding the three relatives from campus for 21 days. They remain away from campus and are following their local health department guidelines.

Our assessment of the risk to the Kent Campus included evaluating the roles that these three individuals hold on our campus. They do not work in classrooms, dining services, residence halls, custodial positions, recreational services, or health services, and their typical work day provided little or no contact with students. Even if you came in contact with one of the three relatives, remember that this does not put you at risk because none of the three were ill.

The local and state health departments are responsible for identifying and monitoring any contacts of an Ebola case. These are the current Ohio Department of Health (ODH) guidelines regarding precautions for exposed individuals:

  • For individuals with any direct physical contact with the ill patient (including brief contact such as a handshake without personal protective equipment), ODH recommends quarantine for 21 days after the last contact in conjunction with public health officials.
  • For individuals without direct contact, but within a three-foot radius of the ill patient (such as adjacent passengers in an airplane or car) for a prolonged period of time, ODH recommends twice-daily temperature-taking and symptom check (one observed by a public health official) for 21 days after the last contact with the ill patient.
  • For individuals without direct contact but in the vicinity of the ill patient as indicated by a public health official, notification and self-monitoring is recommended.

Ebola virus disease is a very serious and frightening illness, but it is not an airborne illness. It is spread by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who is actively sick with Ebola disease. The symptoms of Ebola include fever above 100.4°F, fatigue, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. If you experience these symptoms, and you have been in contact with someone diagnosed with Ebola (or traveled to an affected country), seek medical care immediately and advise the healthcare providers of your exposure. You may call University Health Service at 330-672-2322 for an appointment, or call our after-hours nurse line at 330-672-2326.

My staff of healthcare professionals at the DeWeese Health Center remains on high alert for any potential case of Ebola on campus. Your health and safety remain our top priority. During this stressful time, let’s all remain focused on the facts.

Angela DeJulius, MD, MPH
Director, Kent State University Health Services
DeWeese Health Center
1500 Eastway Drive
Kent, OH  44242
330-672-2322

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