UCSF Campus Communicable Disease Exposure Follow-Up Plan


The purpose of this policy is to assign actions and responsibilities for confirming a campus exposure, identifying those people likely exposed to a communicable disease and determining the risk of transmission and the appropriate follow-up activities. This policy only applies to exposures that occur on campus. An Infection Control Exposure Follow-Up Policy applies to exposures that occur within the Medical Center. This plan is located in section 7.1 of the UCSF Infection Control Manual. This manual is available at http://infectioncontrol.ucsfmedicalcenter.org/node/351 .


As required by California Labor Code 6401.7 (Injury and Illness Prevention, Program) the campus Public Health Officer (PHO) and Occupational Health Services (OHS) will coordinate required follow-up and implement the action plan when a communicable disease exposure is reported. A technical advisory meeting will be convened within 24 hours or one business day of the initial report. The PHO and OHS are responsible for activities related to students, staff, faculty, house staff, clinical fellows, all other trainees, volunteers and contractors. Student Health Services (SHS) will be responsible for prophylaxis, treatment and follow-up related to exposures in students.

A debriefing will occur at the closure of the exposure follow-up activities.



  1. Technical Advisors are a defined group of UCSF personnel who will determine the severity of the exposure and recommendation procedures for follow-up. Included in this group are:

      1. Occupational Health Services (OHS) – Medical Director

      2. Office of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) - Public Health Officer

      3. Adult & Pediatric Infectious Disease Physicians (ID MD’s) – if needed

      4. Student Health Services (SHS) – if needed

      5. HEIC Director – if needed

      6. EH&S Occupational Health Consultant – if needed

B. Stakeholders include the Technical Advisors group, identified senior leaders and/or        managers of the identified exposed visitors, students, staff, faculty, volunteers and contractors.



  1.   A possible exposure is reported to the campus Public Health Officer (PHO) by email, phone or pager and an initial investigation is initiated. In the event that the Public Health Officer is unavailable, the assistant Biosafety Officer will initiate the investigation.

a. Public Health Officer Contact Information:

b. Biosafety Officer Contact Information:

  • Peili.zhu@ucsf.edu
  • Phone: 415-514-2824 (During normal business hours)
  • Pager : 415-719-1088 (Available 24 hours)

  B.  The PHO takes the following actions:

  1. Sends an initial phone or text message alert to Occupational Health Services (OHS).
  2. Sends an email with additional information to OHS and the Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control (HEIC) as information becomes available.

 C.  OHS takes the following actions:

  1. Telephones PHO and acknowledges receipt of the exposure information

  2. Assigns OHS liaison for communications with PHO

  3. Provides PHO with contact information for the assigned liaison

D. The PHO in collaboration with OHS investigates the exposure via laboratory reports, patient symptoms and other pertinent information, and briefs the exposure with OHS liaison.


E. If the communicable disease diagnosis is ruled out, PHO will notify OHS and HEIC via email. No further action is required.


F. If the communicable disease diagnosis is confirmed or exposure follow-up is required, PHO and OHS will work together to coordinate the exposure investigation and communication. HEIC will provide guidance as needed in follow-up investigation procedures.

  1.  PHO takes the following actions:

  1. Identifies times, locations, organism and communicable period
  2. Confers with OHS to determine initial extent of exposure, and the need to convene the Technical Advisors and stakeholders meetings. 
  3. Determines preliminary timeline of exposure, incubation and transmission.
  4. Sends emails with preliminary summary to Technical Advisors within 24 hours of confirmation of diagnosis and attach Notification Algorithm.
  5. When immediate action is required, convenes a Technical Advisors meeting within 24 hours of initial report.

G. Technical Advisor Decision-making

  1. The Technical Advisors will develop a case definition and identify the concentric circles of exposure describing the specifics of who was likely to be exposed, where and when the exposure occurred. 
  2. The Technical Advisors will identify stakeholders. Stakeholders may include senior leadership, departmental managers, appropriate physicians/groups and others whose expertise or involvement is necessary for appropriate follow-up.

H. PHO Decision Making

  1. The PHO will call a Stakeholder’s Meeting if deemed necessary by the Technical Advisors.

 I. Stakeholder Decision Making

    1. Stakeholders will confirm assumptions of the technical advisors regarding concentric circles and the types of activities/functions of the involved areas.

    2. The stakeholders will determine which groups of students, staff, faculty, volunteers, house staff, clinical fellows, other trainees and contractors to contact about possible exposure. These groups will reflect location-specific exposures as well as exposures in individuals who provide functions across the institution.

    3. The stakeholders will provide input on who will collect exposed contacts’ names and schedules from each of the identified group or department and send to PHO.

    4. The Technical Advisors will recommend activation of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) if indicated (trigger Disaster Plan).

J. Screening and Testing

  1. OHS and PHO develop communication for exposed staff and their supervisors. Communication will include general background, screening testing, prophylaxis, treatment, and contact information for follow-up questions.

a.    PHO will develop a list of potentially exposed personnel and review this list with the appropriate managers.

b.    PHO will develop notification letters/scripts/response templates that include testing and other follow-up recommendations. PHO and OHS will perform the following:

  1. Seek input from stakeholders, OHS, Medical Center Risk Management, and ID MDs
  2. Obtain final language approval from Medical Center Risk Management/Public Affairs

2. PHO notifies the departmental managers about the exposure.

3. PHO assists the identified departments in developing lists of potentially exposed students, faculty, house staff, clinical fellows, other trainees, volunteers or contractors.

4. Under infrequent circumstances, OHS notifies, screens and tests staff, faculty, trainees, volunteers and contractors who may have been exposed. In most cases, OHS will notify potentially exposed individuals and direct them to see their primary care physician for screening and testing. Exposed individuals will be instructed to provide the notification letter to their primary care physician.

5. The PHO will develop and send notification letter/script response template.

K. Reporting

  1. PHO or OHS notifies San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and/or California State Department of Public Health (CA DPH) Communicable Diseases Branch as required by Title 17 (“Reportable Diseases”).

  2. PHO and OHS jointly, develop a summary of the exposure activities and report these findings to the Infection Control Committee, Institutional Biosafety Committee (for exposures involving research) and the Occupational Health Steering Committee.

L. Work Restrictions

  1. All UCSF students, staff, faculty, house staff, clinical fellows, other trainees, volunteers and contracted employees who are infected with potential pathogens can be restricted from work to prevent transmission to other personnel. Campus will follow all work restriction guidelines outlined by the UCSF Medical Center Infection Control Manual
    (http://infectioncontrol.ucsfmedicalcenter.org/node/351) or as designated by the Public Health Officer for the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
  2. Work restrictions for any transmissible infections not referred to in this policy will be determined by the Technical Advisors Committee.
  3. The EH&S Public Health Officer or Occupational Health Services will provide information to Human Resources regarding work restrictions for employees.
  4. UCSF personnel returning from international assignment with symptoms of infectious disease such as fever must be cleared for Return to Work by OHS.


This guideline is intended for use by UCSF staff and personnel and no representations or warranties are made for outside use. Not for outside production or publication without permission. For direct inquiries contact the Office of Environment, Health and Safety (415) 514-3531.