The Ebola virus is one of the world’s most devastating illnesses. The virus was first detected in 1976 in an outbreak near the Ebola river in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The virus’ latest outbreak, beginning in March 2014, has infected roughly 13,000 people and has claimed more than 6,200 lives. Contrary to claims that Ebola is spread like influenza or the common flu, it is transferable only through direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola.
This year, UC was forced to postpone the study abroad program in Sierra Leone for at least a year. “We take all the precautions that we can to make sure our students are safe and that they’re not going into parts of the world where they would be in danger,” Darin Menlove of UC Berkeley’s Study Abroad recently told NBC Bay Area News.
University Ebola Updates and Guidelines
Today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a Level 3 travel advisory against all non-essential travel to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. For university students, researchers, healthcare workers and humanitarian workers who may travel near high-risk Ebola areas over the holiday break, UC has released Ebola updates and guidelines. Three measures are highlighted:
Notify campus of travel
- Notify your academic department and University Health Services. You can request to speak to a travel advisor for Ebola-affected countries by calling 510-642-1814. The advisor will review your pre-trip preparations and answer any questions you may have.
- Attend a CDC safety training course
- Read CDC’s recommendations for humanitarian aid workers
Register with travel insurance
- All travel to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone must be registered with the University. Register your trip with UC’s travel insurance plan. Registering provides travelers with travel alerts and assistance from WorldCue/iJet regarding medical care, health advisories, extreme weather, natural disasters, or civil unrest. Registering allows the University to assist you more quickly in the event of an emergency.
Plan for 21-day active monitoring and potential self-quarantine upon return
- All travelers returning from Liberia, Guinea, or Sierra Leone will be subject to a 21-day active monitoring regimen by public health officials. This includes a twice-daily temperature and symptoms check supervised by the local public health department. Extra restrictions may be imposed.
- Read UC’s Protocol for Re-Entry to Work, which provides recommendations regarding risk from exposure
Other Trip-Planning Resources
- CA Department of Public Health Ebola hotline: 855-421-5921
- UC Berkeley International Travel Clinic
- UC Berkeley EH&S Field Safety Guidance
- WorldCue/iJet Pre-Trip Planning Tool
- S. State Department