The University of Manitoba said this afternoon that it is closely monitoring advisories from Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors (MHHLS), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa as students and staff arrive on campus.
The university is following federal health policy by restricting student travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. It was not immediately known if any students from those countries are registered for the fall session, or if any students or staff have travelled there this summer.
"According to PHAC, the risk in Canada is considered very low, with no reported cases," said marketing and communications director John Danakas.
U of M said it is following guidelines established by MHHLS, PHAC and the WHO, and will provide updated information about the Ebola virus to the university community when there is new information that could potentially impact faculty, staff and students.
Danakas said that students should contact Health Links 24-hour phone line at (204) 788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 or visit http://www.wrha.mb.ca/healthinfo/healthlinks/ with any questions or concerns.
The University Health Service is closely monitoring the situation and will advise the university about appropriate communication needs and possible interventions should they become necessary, said Danakas.
"All incoming international students from West Africa are being advised about the outbreak, possible travel complications if coming from impacted countries, symptoms of the Ebola virus, and to seek immediate health care should they become ill after arriving in this country. This information is being communicated to international students arriving at all U of M campuses," he said.
Danakas said that a student travel restriction is being issued for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. This recommendation is consistent with PHAC’s Level 3 advisory, Danakas said. Revisions to this restriction will be made if PHAC makes changes in its recommendations.
"U of M encourages everyone to become familiar with symptoms and seek medical attention if you or someone you know experiences fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. Symptoms can begin two to 21 days after exposure, although eight to 10 days is most common. Ebola is not an airborne virus. Transmission requires direct contact with blood or bodily secretions," said Danakas.
U of M is citing links to:
Public Health Agency of Canada: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cpho-acsp/statements/20140808-eng.php
Travel Advisories: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/ebola-level3
Health Links – 24-hour phone line: http://www.wrha.mb.ca/healthinfo/healthlinks/ or call anytime (204) 788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257
University Health Service: http://umanitoba.ca/student/health/Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/diseases/ebola.html