Aug. 14, 2014 - Request of Recent Travelers to Ebola-Affected Countries

4:05pm | Thursday, August 14, 2014

I am writing to ask for your cooperation in ensuring the health and safety of the entire campus community in light of the outbreak of Ebola virus in several West African countries.

The Centers for Disease Control have identified Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria as countries affected by the outbreak. As such, we are asking all students, faculty, and staff who have traveled to any of those affected countries within 21 days of their arrival at the Rensselaer campus to inform the Rensselaer Health Center by calling (518) 276-6287.

Any individual who has traveled to one of those four countries within 21 days of arriving at Rensselaer but did not come into contact with anyone displaying symptoms linked to Ebola – high fever, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, severe muscle aches, and bleeding – will be asked to simply monitor their temperature daily for a 21-day period beginning when they left the affected country. In the event that individual develops a fever, we ask that they either visit their primary care physician or the campus Health Center. If no fever develops during that 21-day period, no further action will be necessary.

Any individual who has traveled to one of those four countries within 21 days of arriving at Rensselaer and also did come into contact with someone displaying the symptoms linked to Ebola as listed above, will be asked to see either their primary care physician or visit the Health Center immediately.

Again, these precautions only apply to people who have traveled to or through one of the four affected countries – Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, or Nigeria – within 21 days of arriving at Rensselaer.

Most importantly, I would like to stress that the Ebola virus is extremely difficult to transmit. Because of this, cases are extremely rare in the United States. The virus cannot be transmitted through the air and can only be transmitted through direct contact with the blood, semen, vaginal fluid, other bodily secretions, or mucosal contact of an infected person.

I will update the campus community as necessary. I wish everyone a happy and healthy start to the new semester!

Please contact the Health Center at (518) 276-6287 if you have further questions or concerns.

Leslie S. Lawrence, MD
Medical Director
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute