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Memo from Dr. Kathleen Camelo
In view of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak in West Africa, SUNY Plattsburgh is implementing precautions to address concerns of the campus community as they pertain to the college’s international students and any faculty, staff and other students who have traveled to the affected areas.
The college has reached out to members of the student body with known ties to countries affected by the Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak. Fortunately, none of our students have had known exposure to the Ebola virus.
There are no medications effective in curing the virus, but supportive hospital care can significantly increase survival. Ebola is not transmitted through the air and is not a food-borne or water-borne contagion. Ebola is not contagious until its victims begin to show symptoms, such as a high fever. It is then highly contagious through infected bodily fluids and blood, even after the victim has died.
Members of the campus community — including faculty, staff and students —who traveled to the affected areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Lagos, Nigeria, in the past 30 days but who have not had direct contact with the body fluids of symptomatic infected persons or animals, or objects that have been contaminated with body fluids, ie., syringes, should monitor their health for symptoms of infection over the next 21 days.
Any students with a potential exposure by direct contact with the body fluids of symptomatic infected persons or animals, or objects that have been contaminated should contact the Student Health and Counseling Center, (518) 564-2187, and monitor their health for symptoms of infection over the next 21 days. Faculty or staff with a potential exposure should contact the Clinton County Health Department at (518) 565-4848. They are also welcome to contact the Student Health and Counseling Center as well.
Anyone traveling to the above-named regions who become ill during their travel or during the 21 days subsequent to their travel — even if only a fever — should phone their health-care provider or the emergency room immediately and inform them about recent travel, potential contacts and symptoms.
Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contact Student Health and Counseling Center with any questions or concerns.
More information is available at:
What is Ebola?
Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus, though 8-10 days is most common.
How is Ebola transmitted?
Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
Can Ebola be transmitted through the air?
No. Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air.
Can I get Ebola from contaminated food or water?
No. Ebola is not a food-borne illness. It is not a water-borne illness.
Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn’t have any symptoms?
No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms.
Are there any cases of individuals contracting Ebola in the U.S.?
No. Two U.S. aid workers contracted the virus in Liberia and are being cared for at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
What is being done to prevent ill passengers in West Africa from getting on a plane?
CDC is assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. In addition, airports in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are screening all outbound passengers for Ebola symptoms, including fever, and passengers are required to respond to a healthcare questionnaire. CDC is also surging support in the region by deploying 50 additional workers to help build capacity on the ground.
What is CDC doing in the U.S.?
On the remote possibility that an ill passenger enters the U.S., CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These include notification to CDC of ill passengers on a plane before arrival, investigation of ill travelers, and, if necessary, isolation. CDC has also provided guidance to airlines for managing ill passengers and crew and for disinfecting aircraft. CDC has issued a Health Alert Notice reminding U.S. healthcare workers of the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus, how to test and isolate suspected patients and how they can protect themselves from infection.
What about ill Americans with Ebola who are being brought to the U.S. for treatment? How is CDC protecting the American public?
CDC has very well-established protocols in place to ensure the safe transport and care of patients with infectious diseases back to the United States. These procedures cover the entire process -- from patients leaving their bedside in a foreign country to their transport to an airport and boarding a non-commercial airplane equipped with a special transport isolation unit, to their arrival at a medical facility in the United States that is appropriately equipped and staffed to handle such cases. CDC’s role is to ensure that travel and hospitalization is done to minimize risk of spread of infection and to ensure that the American public is protected. Patients were evacuated in similar ways during SARS.
What does the CDC’s Travel Alert Level 3 mean to U.S. travelers?
On July 31, the CDC elevated their warning to U.S. citizens encouraging them to defer unnecessary travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone over concerns that travelers may not have access to health care facilities and personnel should they need them in country.
Symptoms of Ebola HF typically include:
Some patients may experience:
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to the Ebola virus, though 8-10 days is most common.
There are several ways in which the Ebola virus can be transmitted to others. These include:
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