News from the Offi

From the Office of Legal Affairs

Dear Investigators,

Please review the following important notice regarding personal travel to and contact with persons traveling from countries where Ebola outbreaks are occurring.

Is it safe to travel to countries where the Ebola outbreaks are occurring (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria)? What should we do if we have education-, work-, or research-related travel planned to these countries?

  • CDC has posted Warning – Level 3 Travel Notices recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone at this time. Georgia State advises that university-related travel to these countries be postponed until further notice. Please contact Kelly Stout (3-5475) or Brenda Chapman (3-3505) if you currently have plans to travel to these countries.
  • CDC has posted an Alert – Level 2 Travel Notice for Nigeria with recommendations for enhanced precautions to help travelers protect themselves and help prevent the spread of Ebola. These recommendations may change as the situation evolves. In the event that the situation worsens in Nigeria, CDC may recommend against non-essential travel to Nigeria. Georgia State advises that university-related travel to Nigeria be postponed until further notice. Please contact Kelly Stout (3-5475) or Brenda Chapman (3-3505) if you currently have plans to travel to Nigeria.

More details on these alerts may be found on the CDC's Advice for Colleges, Universities, and Students about Ebola in West Africa webpage.  

  • The U.S. Department of State takes action to protect U.S. citizens who travel outside the country through a number of diplomatic channels. However, in the event of an outbreak, any country has the right to enact measures (such as quarantine of exposed people, isolation of sick people, and screening of people entering or exiting the country for sickness or disease exposure) to protect its citizens and to prevent the spread of an outbreak to other countries. These measures may infringe on the individual rights of those who appear to be infected with or exposed to a disease of public health concern—including visiting U.S. citizens. The ability of the U.S. Department of State to intervene in such situations is limited. See the Department's Emergency Resources webpage for more information.
  • Visit the CDC's Travel Health Notices webpage for the most up-to-date guidance and recommendations for each country, including information about health screening of incoming and outgoing travelers and restrictions on travel within countries.

  How long is the outbreak going to last? Will it be safe to travel in the spring semester?

  • Although it is impossible to predict with complete certainty, it could take a minimum of six months to get the outbreak under control.  The ministries of health in the countries where the Ebola outbreaks are happening are working in collaboration with the World Health Organization, CDC, and others to respond. However, due to the complicated nature of the outbreak, these countries face many challenges. You should consider the likelihood that the outbreak could continue for several months and that CDC's recommendation to avoid non-essential travel may remain in place for as long as the outbreak lasts. This might mean not traveling to the affected area during the spring semester if the outbreak is still ongoing. 

 Is education-related travel to other countries in the West Africa region safe?

  • At this time, there is no risk of contracting Ebola in other countries in the West Africa region where Ebola cases have not been reported. However the situation could change rapidly.
  • To stay up-to-date, check for the latest information on the CDC's Traveler's Health webpage.

What should I do if I have traveled to one of the countries where the Ebola outbreaks are happening?

What should I do to protect my health if I come in contact with people on campus who have recently returned from a country where the Ebola outbreaks are happening?

  • Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population and is not contagious until symptoms appear. It is spread through direct contact with body fluids (blood, urine, feces, saliva, semen, and other secretions) of an infected person, or with objects like needles that have been contaminated with body secretions. This includes through intimate contact, such as sex, since Ebola can still be found in semen for 7 weeks after a person has recovered.
  • It is always good to avoid contact with anyone who is sick and to wash your hands regularly. Use soap and water if available, or use hand sanitizer. Doing so can help you prevent getting sick from many different illnesses.

The content within this email has been placed on URSA's Ebola Advisory webpage for easy future reference.  

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