Health Services closely monitors outbreaks of illness(es) that could potentially become
public health emergencies based on the criteria from the Centers for Diseases Control and World Health Organization. The CDC is closely monitoring the widespread flu outbreak and subsequent hospitalization
rates in the United States. 49 States are reporting above average flu activity. Educate
yourself on how to prevent the spread of flu.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019)
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has community spread across the United States, including
local cases at WCU. It is important that you know how to protect yourself from getting
sick, and steps to take if you do begin to feel ill.
It is very important to monitor your health for symptoms, and if you develop symptoms,
to contact your healthcare provider. You can reach Health Services at 828-227-7640.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild
symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Contact with Positive Exposure:
If you have been notified by a contact tracer that you have been exposed to someone
with a positive case of COVID-19, it is important that you begin to quarantine and
separate yourself from others as much as possible to help prevent the spread of the
virus. You may be directed to get testing. It can take up to 14 days after exposure
for you to become sick. You could be contagious with COVID-19 and be asymptomatic,
meaning you never have symptoms. During that period, however, you could continue
to spread the virus to others.
If you have heard from a friend or family member that you might have been exposed,
review the CDC’s guidance for determining a close contact, or someone that may need
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
- You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
- You shared eating or drinking utensils
- They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
If you do not meet any of the criteria listed, you would not be considered a close
contact, and the risk of exposure is very low.
As the spring semester is getting underway, so is the 2020 flu season. I wanted to
update you on flu activity in our area and ask for your help in preventing the spread
of flu in our community.
Influenza, the flu, is a contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe
illness and can pose high risks for people with certain health conditions or compromised
The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) surveillance map shows widespread flu, or flu
like illness, activity throughout the southeast United States. More specifically,
the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ Surveillance Summary demonstrates increased flu activity at this point in time compared to the past two
years in North Carolina. With those statistics in mind, you can take to help avoid
the flu and prevent the spread of flu and keep our campus healthy:
- The first and most important step in protecting yourself from the flu is to GET a
flu vaccine. It is not too late to get a flu shot. While the flu shot may not prevent
you from getting the flu, it is proven to be effective in helping reduce the severity
of symptoms and shorten recovery time if you do get sick. Health Services still has
- Know the symptoms of the flu, and seek medical care here at Health Services if you
experience these symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4F/38C degrees or higher or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu
has a fever)
- Headaches and/or body aches
- Cough and/or sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
- Practice good prevention habits by WASHING your hands routinely. Particularly after
you have touched surfaces in common areas--avoid touching your face. Wash your hands
with either soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand
sanitizer rubbing your hands together until they are dry.
- Routinely wipe your pens, phones, keyboards and other common items that may be touched
or used by individuals other than yourself, in both your work environment and at home.
- Cover your mouth if you need to cough or sneeze, using a tissue or your elbow if necessary.
- Prevent the spread of germs! If you become ill, self-isolate until at least 24 hours
after your fever subsides. If you visit a medical provider, ask for a mask, even if
you are not experiencing symptoms, you may be exposed while at that medical office.
If you are diagnosed with the flu, the Office of Student Affairs is assisting with
documented medical absence notifications to allow you the necessary time to recuperate without furthering spreading illness
to the rest of campus.
From January 1 to May 10, 2019, 839 individual cases of measles have been confirmed
in 23 states, based on data reported to the CDC.
This is an increase of 75 cases from the previous week, and new cases continue to
This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles
was declared eliminated in 2000.
The states that have reported cases to CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut,
Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas,
Tennessee, and Washington.
In a given year, more measles cases can occur for any of the following reasons:
- an increase in the number of travelers who get measles abroad and bring it into the
- further spread of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.
Measles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. It’s followed
by a rash that spreads over the body. Measles is highly contagious and spreads through
coughing and sneezing. Persons with measles are contagious from four days prior to
rash onset (with the rash onset considered day zero) through four days after rash
Measles is a public health concern and is reportable to the Communicable Disease Branch
of the NC Department of Health and Human Services to implement measure to control
the spread of illness.
As of May 16, 2019 NC has not experienced a positive case of measles, but if are experiencing
any of these symptoms and are concerned about potential exposure, please visit Health
Services to discuss your concerns.
Mosquito Borne Illnesses
Several infectious illnesses result from mosquito and tick bites. The simplest way
to prevent these illnesses is to prevent mosquito and tick bites through the use of
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued travel advisories
to areas infected with Zika virus, including parts of the United States. There are
five important things that you should know about Zika. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis
(red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to
a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough
to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have either traveled to an infected
area or recently had mosquito bites please visit Health Services to discuss your concerns.
Other infections that can result from a mosquito or tick bites include:
Saint Louis Encephalitis
La Crosse Encephalitis
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Educate yourself and contact Health Services if you need more information.
As of March 29, 2016 the World Health Organization issued the following statement:
The 9th meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under
the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the Ebola virus disease
outbreak in West Africa took place on 29 March 2016. In the Committee’s view, the
Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of
International Concern and the temporary recommendations adopted in response should
now be terminated.
Health Services will continue to follow the guidance and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health.
Persons arriving in the U.S. from an affected area or any traveler should monitor
their health and if feeling sick, contact their health provider immediately and tell
him or her about their recent travel and potential contacts before they go to the
doctor's office or emergency room to prevent potential transmission to others.
Students should contact Health Services at 828-227-7640 and ask to speak with a Registered
Nurse for questions or assistance.
Faculty and Staff should contact their primary care Provider or Health Services for