Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness

Public Health Advisory 9/3/14


The Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued an Ebola Health Advisory

Important Information about  Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)   

Many colleges and universities may have students, faculty, or staff in areas of West Africa where the Ebola outbreak is ongoing, currently Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and, to a very limited extent, Lagos in Nigeria.The likelihood of becoming infected with Ebola virus is very small unless the person has traveled to an outbreak area AND has had direct contact with blood or body secretions from an Ebola infected person or animal, OR with objects that were wet with the blood or body fluids of someone ill with Ebola virus. It should be kept in mind that there are many illnesses with fever that occur in travelers and that, regardless of the current situation in West Africa, Ebola virus infection is quite unlikely.               

A suspect case is an individual who:
Has visited an area of a country with ongoing transmission of Ebola virus within the previous 21 days, who has had exposure to ill individuals or their body fluids through social or professional contact and has fever (temperature ≥100.4°F, 38.0°C) and additional symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or unexplained hemorrhage.

A potential contact is:
Someone who, in the course of work as a health care provider in the U.S. or abroad, has had possible direct, unprotected contact with an EVD case or cases or who, in the course of travel, has had close contact with a possible case of EVD. Travel per se does not put an individual at risk for EVD, nor does casual contact; only unprotected exposure to blood or body fluid of someone with EVD. Situations should be evaluated as to likelihood of EVD as a cause of symptoms, as well as details about the exposure to a possible case. These evaluations should be done in consultation with public health officials.

A high risk exposure to Ebola is defined as someone who has had direct contact, without using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), with the blood or body fluids of a person who is ill with EVD or who has died from EVD.  Direct contact without the use of PPE with animals that may have Ebola is also considered high risk.

A low risk exposure is defined as anyone who has worked or volunteered in a facility that is treating EVD patients (even if PPE was appropriately used) OR a household member of a confirmed or suspected EVD case who had no direct contact with an ill person.

Persons who have traveled to an outbreak area without either a high risk or low risk exposure identified are considered to have no risk of EVD.

Signs & Symptoms

  • fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • severe headache
  • muscle pain
  • vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain                                                                                                                                                               
  • unexplained bleeding or bruising.
  • incubation 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola (8 to 10 days most common)

Spread           
Direct Contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with blood and body fluids (urine, feces, saliva, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola, or with objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the virus OR bushmeat, infected bats, Post-mortem care. Persons at risk are the traveling population that have families returning from home visit, students/researchers returning from abroad,clinicians returning from assisting during outbreak and refugees.

Ebola is NOT spread by air, water, or (generally) by food

Reporting      
All high risk exposures - regardless of symptoms - must be reported to the appropriate health department.

City of Worcester: 508.799.1763  http://www.worcesterma.gov/e-services/online-submit-forms/disease-reporting
MDPH: 617.983.6800

In order for QCC to comply with this important health issue, please notify Susan Johnson RN,C MSN Health Consultant, Nurse Clinician by e-mail at sjohnson [at] qcc [dot] mass [dot] edu or by telephone at 508-854-7556 or 508-525-3360 if you are an at risk individual and meet any of the criteria listed. Any person that is considered a risk factor or is exhibiting any of these signs or symptoms should contact their own PCP or hospital immediately for further evaluation.

Due to the Ebola situation changing rapidly, the CDC guidance is updated with additional information as it becomes available. The most recent CDC guidance can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html?s_cid=cdc_homepage_feature_001

Additional Resources:

MDPH: www.mass.gov/dph/ebola

For the most recent travel advisories: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/ebola
 


 

Public Health Advisory 8/6/14

The City of Worcester Division of Public Health is concerned about an increase in deaths related to opiate overdoses in recent days. Preliminary testing indicates that contaminated heroin may be available on the streets. If you witness a suspected drug overdose please call 9-1-1 immediately.

Resources


What You Should Know for the 2014-2015 Seasonal Influenza

For the 2014-2015 Influenza Season, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2014-2015.htm

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there more than one type of flu shot available?

There are several flu vaccine options for the 2014-2015 flu season.

Traditional flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses (called “trivalent” vaccines) are available. In addition, flu vaccines made to protect against four different flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines) also are available.

Trivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus. The following trivalent flu vaccines are available:

The stronger dose is the quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.  

See additional information about approved Influenza Vaccine at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccines.htm

It’s not possible to predict what this flu season will be like. Flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways. While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another.

Visit CDC’s website to find out what to do if you get sick with the flu and how to care for someone at home who is sick with the flu. www.cdc.gov

Important note: This website is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care, only a supplement to it. If you believe you have a medical problem, please contact your family doctor or physician.