Guidance for Stanford Medicine Students, Faculty, and Staff on Ebola Crisis
October 27, 2014
Stanford Medicine continues to monitor the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa in order to address any potential cases of Ebola on campus and protect the health and safety of our community.
While a case of Ebola within the Stanford Medicine community is unlikely, this is an opportunity for all of us to recall the basic precautions we should take to avoid the spread of any infectious disease. The common influenza virus is present on the Stanford campus every year and is likely to have a greater impact than any other communicable disease. We encourage every member of the Stanford Medicine community who is able to do so to get a flu shot, either from your own doctor or in one of our free flu vaccination clinics ongoing now. It is also important to practice proper hygiene throughout the winter months and to avoid infecting others if you become sick.
Clinical Preparation, Training, and Awareness
We are fortunate to have a world-class medical facility, and expert personnel, at Stanford Medicine. Like many hospitals across the country, Stanford Hospital has elevated its alert status. During the past weeks, Stanford Medicine has been preparing for the unlikely but possible arrival of a local patient with Ebola in one of our hospitals or clinics. We have in place a series of protocols to identify, isolate and begin care should we have a case in the Stanford Health Care network. We are confident of our plans for handling a local case of Ebola in our emergency room and for caring for such a patient within our hospital isolation units. We have and will continue to train our Stanford Medicine staff using state-of-the-art simulations of an Ebola scenario.
Travel to and from Affected Ebola Regions
Given the risks involved, the Dean of the School of Medicine, the President and CEO of Stanford Health Care, and the President and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford have put a moratorium on Stanford-related travel by any community member to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the three countries where Ebola outbreaks continue. This restriction, which is in keeping with Stanford University’s policy, is due to the uncertainty of travel and safety logistics, as well as health care constraints in these areas. The public health infrastructure in these countries is severely strained as the outbreak grows, and the security situation in these countries is unstable and may worsen.
At this time, Stanford Medicine does not plan to send any organized medical support team to the affected area. We know, however, that some people may still want to lend their expertise as volunteers in West Africa during this crisis. We respect that selfless and humanitarian personal choice. But any Stanford faculty, staff, or student who wishes to undertake personal, voluntary travel to these specific countries should be aware that Stanford’s ability to provide medical support or evacuation in the event of illness or exposure will be severely limited and potentially in the hands of the CDC and U.S. State Department, beyond our control. All individuals traveling to these areas should register in the university’s international travel registry at http://oia.stanford.edu/.
Returning to Campus
Anyone who travels to an Ebola-affected area will be required to contact campus health offices for an evaluation prior to their return to campus. If you are a university employee, please contact Brendan Walsh at the Office of International Affairs and the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine. Hospital employees should contact the Chief Medical Officer and may also need permission from supervisors. Any employee or visitor who has traveled to or arrived from the endemic Ebola area (Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea) for any reason will be required to stay away from campus for 21 days following the completion of travel. Arrangements and support for this isolation period may be available and should have prior approval.
If any departments or divisions are anticipating visitors from the endemic Ebola countries, please contact the Office of International Affairsand the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine, or the Chief Medical Officer, before their planned arrival, to determine next steps before the visitors are permitted to arrive on campus. To date, we have not identified any member of our community, or any visitor, who is at elevated risk for Ebola.
Ways to Stay Informed and Help
We appreciate your close attention to this evolving situation and encourage you to stay informed. Updates on the university’s response to this outbreak, details for travelers to the affected region, and FAQs are available at ebola.stanford.edu. For those wishing to provide financial support for the Ebola crisis, the following is a list of organizations accepting donations. Please note that inclusion on the list does not constitute an endorsement by Stanford.