When Liberian traveler Thomas Eric Duncan landed in a Dallas hospital with a diagnosis of Ebola, Dallas Theological Seminary administration closely monitored the evolving situation, informing the campus of Seminary procedures and providing updates related to the virus as they became available.
Even though Mr. Duncan succumed to the virus, the two health-care workers who contracted it after treating him have recovered, and all who had contact with infected individuals completed their 21-day monitoring period with no new cases developing.
This potential crisis gave health-care facilities, schools, and businesses an opportunity to evaluate their policies and procedures, and most are now better-equipped to face a similar situation.
The DTS administration regularly monitors US, TX, and local information regarding Ebola, with added vigilance if any new cases arise in the Dallas Metroplex. DTS has protocols in place and works with appropriate government agencies to remain prepared for any communicable disease or other health issues.
National and local health officials are emphasizing that the risk of contracting Ebola continues to be very low. It is spread by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is showing symptoms of the illness, and not through air or water. See FAQ regarding Ebola.
The Seminary’s administration recommends that students, staff, and faculty continue to practice the same health hygiene that is expected during flu season following the guidelines set by the CDC. (See Health Hygiene).
For DTS students, faculty, or staff who may be considering travel to West Africa, DTS is following the CDC’s Advice for Colleges, Universities and Students about Ebola in West Africa.
DTS will continue to provide updates on our website as is needed. For health questions or concerns about the Ebola virus or other communicable diseases, please contact the DTS Student Services Office, 214-887-5360. For confidential counseling, contact Counseling Services, at 214-887-5360, or the Chaplain’s Office, 214-887-5363. Faculty or staff with concerns about students may contact the office of the Dean of Students at, 214-887-5360.
CDC Recommended Health Hygiene
If you travel to or are in an area affected by an Ebola outbreak, make sure to do the following:
Practice careful hygiene. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and 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 (such as clothes, bedding, needles, and medical equipment).
Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, and raw meat prepared from these animals.
Avoid hospitals in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
After you return, monitor your health for 21 days and seek medical care immediately if you develop symptoms of Ebola.
More information and resources
- Centers for Disease Control – Ebola virus updates and information or call 1-800-CDC-INFO
- Texas Department of State Health Services
- Dallas County Health and Human Services or call the phone line dedicated to questions about this case, 214-692-2783
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Ebola
We have prepared the following to help answer questions. Additional information is available through the CDC website as well.
- What is Ebola?
- Ebola is found in several African countries. It is a rare and potentially fatal disease caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus.
- How is Ebola spread?
- Individuals with Ebola cannot spread the virus until symptoms appear. The virus can only be spread through bodily fluids. It is not an airborne disease.
- What are the signs and symptoms?
- Signs and symptoms of Ebola typically include: fever (greater than 101.5 F), severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and unexplained bleeding or bruising.
- Who is at the greatest risk of exposure?
- In an outbreak, those at highest risk include healthcare workers and family and friends of a person infected with Ebola.
- What can I do to prevent being infected?
- Always wash your hands with soap and water. Cook food properly. Consider visiting a health facility when you have a headache, fever, pain, diarrhea, red eyes, and vomiting.
The above information has been compiled from CDC resources. For more information, visit the CDC website.