Disease/Illness


Campus Communicable Disease Surveillance Policy, Jan. 3, 2019

The University of Maine follows state and national mandates regarding infectious diseases, notifiable communicable health conditions and community outbreaks as directed by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MeCDC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition, UMaine has a standard operating procedure for outbreaks of communicable illness prevalent in college campus populations.

An outbreak is generally defined as when a disease occurs in greater numbers than expected in a community or region, or during a season. An outbreak may occur in one community, or extend to several regions or countries. Sometimes, one or two cases of a contagious disease is considered an outbreak, depending on the illness and its ability to spread.

In the event of an illness outbreak, UMaine will issue community health advisories, including prevention information and efforts, and relevant fact sheets, and will identify a UMaine contact person for more information.

UMaine community advisories related to health and safety are a component of the university’s emergency communications system. Advisory formats include email, social media and the UMaine website in a timely manner, providing emergent information and links to resources. Updates will be made as they become available, and through the guidance of state and federal authorities, when necessary.


Human Bodily Fluids

If you discover what you suspect is blood or other bodily fluids:

  • Don’t touch the fluids.
  • Keep others away.
  • Call 911 and report the incident, they can dispatch people who are trained to decontaminate the area.
  • Do not clean blood or other bodily fluids unless you have proper PPE and have completed your annual BBP training.

Influenza

Good health habits are an important way to help prevent the flu:

  • Clean your hands often.
  • Cover your mouth and nose  when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact. When you are sick, stay home if possible, keep your distance from others.

More information on influenza is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is found in many areas of New England and has now spread to Maine. This is a potentially debilitating disease spread by deer ticks. More information on this disease can be obtained from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Measles

Measles symptoms typically include:

  • Fever (may spike to more than 104°F)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • A characteristic red blotchy rash appears on face on third to the seventh day and becomes generalized, spreading from the head to the trunk to the lower extremities. Patients are considered contagious from four days before to four days after the rash appears. Of note: sometimes immunocompromised patients do not develop the rash and can remain contagious for longer periods.
  • Small spots with white or bluish-white center on an erythematous base on the buccal mucosa (Koplik spots)

Transmission: Measles is a highly contagious viral disease is and transmitted from person to person by direct contact with respiratory droplets or airborne spread when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The measles virus can remain infectious in the air for hours.

Additional information concerning the measles virus is online.


West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is a disease that can lead to an infection called encephalitis (swelling of the brain). West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most mosquito bites do not lead to West Nile Virus because very few mosquitoes are infected. However, people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for serious illness from West Nile Virus infection. More information can be obtained from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Animal Bites/Rabies

If you or someone else has been bitten by a wild or domestic animal, report the incident immediately to UMaine Police Department at 911. Identify the animal by kind, size, color and place the animal was last seen. Medical attention needs to be obtained immediately and follow ups must be conducted to ensure the safety of faculty, staff and students.

Suspicious Animal Behavior

Animals exhibiting aggressive behavior or if you suspect an animal has rabies. Symptoms of rabies may include: an animal that is obviously sick; is exhibiting unusual behavior; or has died under mysterious circumstances. Do not move or otherwise touch the animal. Notify the UMaine Police Department by calling 911.