H.  COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

A communicable disease is an infectious disease that is spread from person-to-person through casual contact or respiratory droplet, to include, but not exclusively, the following: Tuberculosis (TB), measles (Rubella), German measles (Rubella), hepatitis, and meningitis.  Additionally, the University community and the Student Health Center should pay particular attention to the many different subtypes of Type A influenza viruses.  Included in this category is the avian influenza or bird flu which continues to spread worldwide.  This type of disease can have a devastating impact on the health and welfare of the students, employees, and the surrounding community. 

Communicable Diseases which can potentially threaten the health of the campus community as an epidemic include:

         measles (Rubella)

         German measles (Rubella)

         Tuberculosis (TB)

         hepatitis

         meningitis

The Director of the Student Health Services shall be notified about all known acute and suspected cases of any of the above diseases involving any member of the University community (students, faculty, or staff).

1.  Procedures

After receiving this information, the Director of the Student Health Services will convey only the necessary information to the Campus Emergency Coordinator and/or the Chancellor.  

The Director of Student Health Services will also contact the East Baton Rouge Public Health Department to obtain the latest recommendations about the management and prevention of the spread of the specific strain of communicable microbe, requesting appropriate vaccines and/or medications, as well as requesting additional professional and clerical assistance, if deemed necessary.  The Public Health professionals will be asked to assist the Student Health Clinic staff with surveillance and outbreak containment measures, including administration of appropriate vaccines and medications.

All available health professionals will monitor the index cases, look for linked cases, and provide appropriate diagnostic, prophylactic, and therapeutic measures to the affected individual(s). Although the route of transmission and degree of infection varies depending on the specific infectious disease, individuals with the following relationships to the index case will be educated about the disease in question to the extent possible respecting confidentiality.  

Students, faculty, and staff will be told to report any signs and symptoms of the illness to their private physician or to the professionals at the Student Health Center, where they can be seen, to receive a confidential medical consultation, appropriate treatment, and/or referral to community health organizations, as medically indicated.

2.  Media Relations

The Director of Student Health Services will work with the Office of Media Relations to provide medical information concerning the communicable disease to the media, students, staff, and family members.  When appropriate, such as in cases involving meningococcal meningitis, the Director will prepare a letter to the University community and parents of students to inform them of the following: signs and symptoms, clues to early recognition, who is at risk, preventive measures including vaccination when appropriate, treatment procedures, and local sources for referral (Student Health Center, public health clinics, hospital emergency rooms, private offices, etc.).

3.  General Infection Control Measures

a.  Visual Alerts

(1)   When warranted and as instructed by the Director of Student Health Services, post visual alerts (in appropriate languages) prominently at the entrances to all locations where individuals congregate.

(2)   Place informational literature in easily visible and accessible locations

b.  Respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette 

To contain respiratory secretions, all persons with signs and symptoms of a respiratory infection, regardless of presumed cause, should: 

(1)   Cover the nose/mouth when coughing or sneezing.

(2)   Use tissues to contain respiratory secretions.

(3)   Dispose of tissues in the nearest waste receptacle after use.

(4)   Perform hand hygiene after contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials.

c.  Masking and separation of persons with symptoms of respiratory infection

(1)   During periods of increased respiratory infection in the community, offer masks to persons who are coughing. (Respirator masks are not necessary.)

(2)   Encourage coughing persons, however, to sit at least 3 feet away from others in common areas. 

d.  Physical safeguards 

(1)   Ensure the availability of waste receptacles.

(2)   Ensure the availability of soap and disposable towels for hand washing where sinks are available.

e.  General hand washing

In addition to respiratory hygiene, always wash your hands after:

     Going to the bathroom.

     Before and after eating.

     After contact with or being near someone who is ill.

     Before and after handling and preparing food.

     After touching animals.

IMPORTANT: Become informed about the signs and symptoms of acute respiratory illnesses that might pose a public health threat.  Visit the web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov for detailed information on many illnesses.  If you are ill, stay home to avoid infecting others.   See a health care professional for evaluation if you are concerned.

 

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