University of Nevada takes proactive measures for Ebola

Reported by: Van Tieu
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Updated: 8/26/2014 10:45 pm
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- It is not just hospitals that are taking extra precautions as the world watches the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. University campuses, like the University of Nevada, are also refreshing protocols on campus to handle infectious diseases. After all, university campuses are globalized communities.

Hundreds of international students are welcomed from all over the world. Thirteen students are from West Africa, according to administrators. That is where the Ebola virus has wreaked havoc. "The possibility of somebody with an infection is so tiny," said Carina Black of the Northern Nevada International center.

Black said the students are not from any infected countries, and there is no threat. "However, we just want to be prepared."

Instead of spreading panic, the school's priority is to spread knowledge about the virus. "We educate people and we remind them that this is not an airborne virus," said James Wilson, an Ebola response expert on campus.

Wilson works with the world's most powerful infectious disease tracking system at UNR. He said it is hard to contract Ebola. "You’d have to be right in their face to get that fluid to fluid exchange like that."

Wilson also said symptoms are similar to influenza or malaria. "You get a high fever, and you're sick in bed. But the classic 'hollywoodization' of people bleeding and their organs disintegrating: that's seen only in a minority of patients."

The university is also streamlining protocol with local hospitals and The Washoe County Department of Public Health. Though there is no Ebola threat, Wilson and Black said the extra steps are meant to ensure public safety and keep a robust university exchange system.

"It's nothing really out of the ordinary, it's just living in a globalized world," said Black.
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