Student safety seems to be a priority at Ohio State even when the threat is on the other side of the world.
The Ebola virus, which has claimed hundreds of lives in Africa recently, is on OSU’s radar as students travel back to school from all corners of the globe, a university spokesman said.
“The university stands ready to provide broad education and take necessary steps to enhance or protect the health and well-being of the university community,” OSU spokesman Gary Lewis said in an email. “These plans include working with our internal experts from the Wexner Medical Center, College of Public Health, Student Life’s Student Health Services and university leadership, along with our colleagues at Columbus Public Health and the Ohio Department of Health to collaborate in response to these situations.”
Ebola is marked by a fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. It is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and non-human primates.
There were 2,615 suspected or confirmed cases and 1,427 suspected case deaths as of Friday, according to the CDC.
Lewis said based on the CDC’s recommendations, OSU has developed tools to familiarize its staff with Ebola and with a screening tool to determine whether Medical Center patients have the virus based on their travel and exposure history and their current symptoms.
“Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center outpatient clinical sites and Emergency Departments stand ready to assess these patients and we have prepared guidelines for managing these patients in the hospital,” Lewis said.
At least one OSU student said he’s concerned about his risk of getting Ebola, especially from those coming to the U.S. from Ebola-affected countries.
“I am worried the people we are bringing back from Africa is also going to bring the virus to us,” said Shane Price, a fifth-year in human nutrition.
Others, though, aren’t as concerned, like Kelsey Houser, a third-year in business. She said while she, too, is worried about Ebola, she doesn’t think it could spread to OSU. Still, she said she’s glad OSU is taking precautions.
Jeff Robbins, a third-year in forestry, fisheries and wildlife, said he is glad OSU is prepared to combat the virus even though he doesn’t think it will spread to campus.
“I do think it’s good Ohio State is taking precautionary measures because you never know,” Robbins said.