Stanford continues to monitor Ebola outbreak; risk to campus is seen as negligible

Stanford's Infection Control Working Group continues to monitor the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa and has established protocols for members of the Stanford community and others coming to campus from the region.

At the same time, the working group is encouraging the campus community to keep in mind that Ebola poses very little risk at Stanford, including for those in contact with individuals who have traveled recently to West African countries.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and are taking the appropriate precautions for the Stanford community, following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control," said Dr. Ira Friedman, co-chair of the working group and director of the Vaden Health Center. "The risk at Stanford is negligible, due to the nature of the virus and the protocols in place. We encourage the campus community not to fear contact with anyone arriving here from West Africa, nor to treat these individuals any differently than others arriving on campus."

The Ebola outbreak has been centered in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with a very limited number of secondary cases in Nigeria linked to a single infected person. Key facts about the virus include:

  • Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu and is not transmitted through the air.
  • The Ebola virus is only spread through direct contact either with the bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, or with objects contaminated with the virus.
  • The virus is easily killed by contact with soap, bleach, sunlight or drying. A washing machine will kill the Ebola virus in clothing saturated with infected body fluids.
  • Airports in the affected areas are screening travelers for illness or potential contact with Ebola cases and are actively restricting air travel based on this assessment.

Stanford continues to advise Stanford travelers to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and to take precautions in other areas of West Africa – based largely on the potential for travel disruptions and potentially reduced access to emergency health care as a result of the Ebola outbreak. Those planning any international travel are encouraged to register their travel plans with the Office of International Affairs.

Stanford also will be in direct contact with students, staff and faculty returning from the affected countries to facilitate their return.

Individuals planning to return to the Stanford campus from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone are being asked to contact campus health personnel for consultation prior to returning. Those who have traveled to other West African countries, along with visitors from West African countries who may be participating in Stanford programs, are being asked to check their temperature twice daily for 21 days and report any symptoms of illness to campus health personnel immediately.

More information is available on the Guidelines for Travel to West Africa Countries page.