SAISD Takes Precaution Against Ebola Virus

October 9, 2014

In light of the recent diagnosis of the Ebola virus in Dallas, please know there is currently no reason to believe that the situation presents a health concern to San Angelo ISD students or staff members.

Despite false information circulating in social media and among students, there is no indication of this illness in any San Angelo ISD schools.  The District is in close contact with health authorities and will continue to closely monitor the situation.

We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of San Angelo ISD policies and protocols that are always in place to assist in keeping students healthy and safe and to help prevent the spread of illness within our schools.

Please be reminded of the following:

  • We will isolate students who have symptoms of illness and call parents immediately for them to be picked up.
  • If a student has fever, he or she must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school (this means without the use of fever reducing medication).
  • If a student has diarrhea, he or she must be diarrhea free for 24 hours before returning to school (this means without the use of diarrhea suppressing medication). Diarrhea is 3 or more episodes of loose stools in a 24 hour period.
  • A student must not come to school if vomiting 2 or more times in 24 hours. A student should have 1 or 2 meals without vomiting before returning to school.

In addition, our custodial department has strict guidelines they follow in the cleaning and disinfecting of our buildings. There is also a “special team” that is utilized throughout the District in addition to the regular custodial cleanings. 

Symptoms of Ebola include:

  • Fever (greater than 101.5 F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days. 

Recovery from Ebola depends on the patient’s immune response.  People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

Transmission

When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with:

  • Blood or body fluids (including but not limited to 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
  • Infected animals
  • Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, food.  However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bush meat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.

Treatment

No specific vaccine or medicine (e.g., antiviral drug) has been proven to be effective against Ebola. Symptoms of Ebola are treated as they appear.

Prevention

  • Practice careful hygiene.  Avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids. 

Good hygiene and good health practices always involve the following:

  • Avoid close contact.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose.
  • Clean your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. 

For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov and www.dshs.state.tx.us.