Sep 02, 2014 09:15 AM EDT
American Universities to Screen West African Students for Ebola Virus
American Universities will subject West African students to severe health checks in an attempt to shield their campuses from the deadly Ebola virus.
Deemed as the worst Ebola outbreak in history, the virus has medical professionals confused as to how to contain it in the primarily affected regions of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. According to the World Health Organization, the killer disease has already killed 1,552 people as the virus continues to accelerate.
Several colleges are measuring the temperatures of incoming students from affected countries and monitoring for fever until any risk of contamination has been dismissed.
"I don't see this as a huge threat on college campuses," said Dr. Susan Even, student health director at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a member of the ACHA, "but it makes sense when you're communicating with students ... to ask a question or two," Fox News reports.
U.S. universities comprise of 9,728 students from Nigeria, 204 from Liberia, 169 from Sierra Leone and 95 students from Guinea.
About 25 Nigerian students have been enrolled for fall at the University at Buffalo. One freshman Fatima Nor said that there is no reason to panic as the virus is spread only though direct contact with bodily fluids and not by sitting next to classmates. "As long as everyone keeps their personal space, it should be OK," said 18-year-old Nor of Buffalo.
Laura Washburn, a senior at Tufts University, claims that it is unlikely that the students from affected countries could transmit Ebola to campus. "It's not like I'm not going to class because someone has been to Africa," Washburn said. "I mean, it's hard to say how paranoid we should be about it, but I feel pretty safe at Tufts."
Dr. Robert Palinkas, director of the Health Center at the University of Illinois, said that the expected 30 Nigerian students will participate in private Ebola discussions, temperature checks, questionnaires, immunization paperwork and tuberculosis screening.
Similar screenings are also planned at the University at Buffalo, Mercer University in Georgia, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the University of Akron in Ohio.
Moses Ogunseye, a 31-year-old graduate student from Lagos, Nigeria, arrived two weeks ago to study at Akron. Ogunseye said that he doesn't mind going through the entire screening process even though he has not been exposed to the ebola virus. He said that it is the logical thing to do and any voluntary participation is more encouraged.
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