International Travel Clinic

Main Content

COVID-19 information. Photo credit:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that was first identified after an outbreak of respiratory illnesses in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.  The virus did originate in China but has now spread internationally, including the United States.  This is a rapidly evolving situation and there continues to be ongoing investigations to learn more about this outbreak and the virus.  The SIU Student Health Center will continue to monitor the situation with this virus and is in contact with the Jackson County Health Department, Illinois Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for regular updates. 

The SIU Student Health Center has protocols in place, in concordance with CDC guidelines, for the evaluation of patients who may be at risk for contracting COVID-19.  Currently, the health risk to the general public from COVID-19 remains low, both in the U.S. and in Illinois. The goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to detect new cases quickly and prevent community spread of COVID-19. The coming days and weeks are likely to bring more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and globally, but strong public health measures now may blunt the impact of the virus.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat

 Who is at risk for COVID-19?

  • People who have traveled from China, especially the Hubei Province, within 14 days of having symptoms
  • Anyone who has been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19, within 14 days of having symptoms

 What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

  • Call the SIU Student Health Center (or the medical clinic you are going to present to) prior to coming to the clinic.
  • Please check-in at the welcome desk and tell them that you might be at risk.
  • You will be given a mask to wear and clinic staff will be notified so that they can take you to a separate room to be evaluated.
  • If it is determined that you qualify as a Patient Under Investigation (PUI), then the Jackson County Health Department will be notified.
  • Further testing and evaluation will be determined through guidance from the Jackson County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health

 What can I do to prevent myself from getting sick from any respiratory virus?

  • Avoid others who are sick if possible
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer multiple times a day
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Updated posts:

Posted 2/6/20

Southern Illinois University Carbondale has been closely monitoring the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Level 3 warning to “avoid non-essential travel,” both the U.S. State Department and the World Health Organization (WHO) have now issued Level 4 “do not travel” advisories for China. These warnings have been issued to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Given these travel warnings and our desire to maintain the health of our university community, all university travel to China is being restricted at this time. No institution-related travel to China, such as study abroad or other academic program visits, will be authorized or approved by the university. We will continue to monitor the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health advisories for further updates.

The university also does not recommend non-essential personal travel for its faculty, staff or students to COVID-19 affected areas that are under travel advisories. Individuals may monitor the CDC travel notices website.  

Please also see additional information about the university’s response to the coronavirus.

John M. Dunn
Interim Chancellor

Posted 1/31/20

We share the following information about the COVID-19.

University officials continue to monitor reports on the outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. While many questions remain unanswered about this infection -- and we have no reported cases at SIU Carbondale -- we want the members of the campus community to know that we are closely following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health, and Jackson County Health Department to protect the health of our faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Policies are in place at the Student Health Center to rapidly identify, test, isolate and treat suspected patients while minimizing the risk of exposure to health providers and other contacts.

Symptoms of this illness include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Reports indicate that the virus is spreading person-to-person, although it’s unclear how easily it spreads between people. Preliminary information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease from this virus. There is no current vaccine for this or other coronaviruses.

For those people returning from Wuhan or central China, or who have been in close contact with a suspected case of COVID-19:

Travelers from Wuhan to U.S. international airports may undergo health screenings and be asked questions about their travel history to identify possible new cases of COVID-19 infection.

If you feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately. Let your doctor know that you have traveled to Wuhan.

For more information, visit the CDC information page or the World Health Organization guidance page.

Please contact Student Health Services, 618-453-3311, if you have additional questions.


Dr. Paul Bennett, medical chief of staff
Student Health Services