In light of global concerns about the Ebola virus, I want to take this opportunity to inform the Virginia Commonwealth University community about planning by the university and its academic medical center in the event a case presents in our community. Though chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States are slim, it is important to be proactive.
University Student Health Services and Employee Health Services have strong protocols in place should a case present, and we are in regular contact with the Virginia Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to remain up-to-date about the latest recommended best practices for ensuring the safest environment possible.
We are fortunate at VCU to have one of the country’s premier academic medical centers on site, which has a team of multidisciplinary specialists — including top experts on infectious disease — at the ready. VCU Medical Center routinely drills and prepares for outbreaks of infectious diseases, including the Ebola virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently list three countries in West Africa in which travelers may be at risk for exposure to Ebola: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. VCU has not been informed of any VCU students or faculty in the affected area on official university business, such as study abroad, research or service-related activities. The VCU Global Education Office is maintaining regular contact with current students from that part of the world.
The university is not currently approving travel for faculty or students to the affected areas. However, the university is not able to track personal travel. Therefore, anyone who plans personal travel to the affected regions should consult with either Student Health Services or Employee Health before the travel and again before returning to VCU.
University Student Health Services can be reached by phone at (804) 828-8828. VCU Employee Health Services can be reached at (804) 828-0584.
University and Health System leadership continue to meet regularly to ensure that we are prepared to confront this challenge. Further information on this virus is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
We will continue to update the VCU community as necessary on this subject.