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AISD Statement Regarding Ebola

The Austin Independent School District released the following statement regarding Ebola:

AISD is committed to the safety and health of all students and staff.  In light of the recent situation in Dallas regarding the isolated case of Ebola, the Austin Independent School District and its partners in the City and the County are reviewing our processes, protocols, and procedures related to preparedness and the prevention of communicable illnesses.  This is a good opportunity to remind everyone to practice good health habits such as handwashing, staying home if you are ill, eating healthy and nutritious food, engaging in physical activity, and getting enough sleep.

For more information, please contact the Department of Communications and Community Engagement at 512-414-2414.

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What is Ebola?  

Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). Ebola viruses are found in several African countries. 

Are there any cases of people contracting Ebola in the U.S.? 

CDC confirmed on September 30, 2014 the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. The person traveled from West Africa to Dallas, Texas, and later sought medical care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas after developing Ebola symptoms. The medical facility has isolated the patient. Based on the person’s travel history and symptoms, CDC recommended testing for 

Ebola. CDC and public health officials in Texas are identifying people who have had close personal contact with the ill person and health care professionals have been reminded to use meticulous infection control at all times.

At this time, there are no persons of interest that the CDC is following in Austin/Travis County. The risk of transmission in our city is very low. 

CDC recognizes that even a single case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States raises concerns. Knowing the possibility exists, medical and public health professionals across the country have been preparing to respond. 

Is there a danger of Ebola spreading in the U.S.? 

Ebola is not spread through casual contact; therefore, the risk of an outbreak in the U.S. is very low. We know how to stop Ebola’s further spread: thorough case finding, isolation of ill people, contacting people exposed to the ill person, and further isolation of contacts if they develop symptoms. The U.S. public health and medical systems have had prior experience with sporadic cases of diseases such as Ebola. In the past decade, the United States had five imported cases of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) diseases similar to Ebola. None resulted in any transmission in the United States.

How is Ebola transmitted?  

The virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is not spread through the air or by water. Ebola is only spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with:

  • blood or body fluids (including urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola.
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus from infected animals

What is Austin ISD doing about Ebola? 

Austin ISD in collaboration with Austin/Travis County HHSD is continuing with ongoing operations and core practices to monitor for infectious disease and public health threats.  We will share information from the health department and the CDC as it becomes available.  This information can be found on the district website, http://www.austinisd.org

For more information: 

If you have any questions please contact your supervisor and/or AISD Comprehensive Health Services at 512-414-9778. 

http://www.austintexas.gov/article/ebola-information-and-resources
http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/