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Ebola information

North Daviess Community Schools

Date:   November 12, 2014

Dear Parent/Guardian,

North Daviess Community School is aware of the increased concern regarding the Ebola virus in Indiana and throughout the nation, and we want to assure you that the health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority.  We are working with public health officials to receive the latest information about the virus, and are committed, as always, to keeping you informed as we learn more.

Information about the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, and concerns regarding its potential impact in the United States, have been topics of conversation for many individuals in communities across the country.  EVD is a very serious viral disease in humans, and is the cause of ongoing outbreaks in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  Although there have been four cases of EVD recently identified in the United States, there have been NO cases of EVD diagnosed in Indiana, and the general risk of acquiring Ebola in Indiana continues to be extremely low. 

The following is general, important information about EVD:

Ebola Facts:

  • EVD is a rare and serious viral disease.  The first Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in Africa
  • The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa (currently affecting Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) is the largest in history

 

Transmission of Ebola:

  • 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
    • The body of someone who has died from Ebola
  • Ebola is NOT spread through the air, by water or food or by casual contact
  • People with Ebola can ONLY spread the Ebola virus when they have symptoms
  • There is NO known risk of transmission if someone does not have symptoms

 

Symptoms of Ebola:

  • Symptoms of Ebola can include: 
    • Fever
    • Weakness
    • Headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Vomiting
    • Abdominal pain
  • Symptoms of Ebola may appear anywhere from two to twenty-one days following exposure to body fluids of a person infected with the virus, but often appear between eight and ten days following exposure

 

Monitoring of Travelers:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, ministries of health, and their partners, have been working with airlines and airports, both in the United States and in the affected countries, since the beginning of August to address the health, safety and security of American citizens, and to prevent the spread of Ebola.  Exit screenings (temperature/symptom check, traveler interview and assessment) are conducted at airports in the affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) on all travelers to look for sick travelers or travelers exposed to Ebola and to delay them from boarding an airplane until it is safe for them to travel.  All passengers traveling from the affected countries arrive through one of five designated U.S. airport ports of entry.  As an additional safeguard, all individuals returning to Indiana from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are being monitored by the local and state departments of health through “direct active monitoring” for a period of 21 days after their return.

In response to this enhanced monitoring, if you and your student are planning on traveling to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone in the near future, as a part of your travel preparations, please consider notifying Mrs. Berry or Mr. Jerrels of those plans so that the school can be best prepared to meet your student’s needs.  As you make those travel plans, please be aware that, out of an abundance of caution, upon your return to the U.S., the possibility exists that your student will not be permitted to attend school or school related activities for the 21 day period of incubation while they are undergoing observation and monitoring by their health care provider and public health authorities.  The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), using the available science of the disease, and working together with you, your school and the local health department, will make the determination regarding the safety of your student’s attendance. 

 The health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority.  Please remember that several different kinds of communicable diseases are spread through schools and so especially now as we approach the flu season, please remember to follow these tips to ensure that your child remains healthy:

  • Please encourage them to always wash their hands with soap and water, especially before eating or preparing food and after using the restroom
  • Please follow our [school’s/corporation’s] communicable disease policy guidelines and keep your student home when they are sick
  • Teach your child not to share personal items like drinks, food or unwashed utensils
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or sneeze into the elbow, arm or sleeve areas if a tissue is not available
  • Get your child vaccinated against the seasonal flu

 

If you have questions at anytime regarding the Ebola virus, the ISDH has opened an Ebola Call Center which is open and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The Ebola Call Center number is (877) 826-0011.  For the hearing impaired, a call line is open Monday – Friday, 8:15 am to 4:45 pm and the number is (888) 561-0044.  Information can also be found on the CDC website (http://www.cdc.gov) or the ISDH website (http://www.in.gov/isdh/26447.htm).

Sincerely,

Carrie Loheider RN BSN

North Daviess Community Schools5494 East State Rd 58Elnora, IN  47529

812-636-8000

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