When it comes to sickness, VWSD focuses on prevention

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 12, 2014


Fear of a deadly disease from the African continent hit close to home this week after three patients were admitted to Mississippi hospitals with Ebola-like symptoms.

The Vicksburg Warren School District procedure for handling infectious diseases like Ebola focuses on quick quarantine and immediate school dismissal should a child exhibit worrisome symptoms.

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“The main thing in the school district when kids that have a fever that is usually over 100.5, we do isolate them and send them home,” VWSD head nurse Cindee Nash said “If they have diarrhea, vomiting, anything like that, they definitely get isolated and they go home.”

If a child exhibits Ebola-like symptoms and is believed to have come into contact with someone who has recently traveled to West Africa the patient will be isolated before being passed along to the health department for further evaluation.

“The main thing we would do is isolate them and go ahead and call the parent, call 911 and let them know what’s going on,” Nash said. “Normally the health department would take over at that point to find out who the child has been around and really get with us at that point to find out what we need to do from there.”

The school district also has strict preventative measures to help combat the potential threat of Ebola and other contagious diseases.

“I gave the principals a lot of information on Ebola to get them updated on what they need to be looking for,” Nash said. “I’ve also made sure everyone is looking at good hand washing, making sure we have soap in all the dispensers in all the schools to make sure we are washing hands and sneezing into our elbows. We’re looking at that anyway with flu season coming up, but we’re doing anything that we can (to prevent it).”

Early stages of Ebola often mimic that of the flu, including body aches, high fever and vomiting. Children with these symptoms are encouraged to stay home from school and get treated by a physician.

“Parents don’t need to panic. They need to watch their children if they have fever and (the child) needs to stay at home. If they have diarrhea or vomiting, they need to stay at home,” Nash said. “We want kids at school, but if they’re sick they need to stay at home.”