Ebola outbreak: College campuses on alert as new term begins
Nigeria is the fourth largest supplier of international students to British universities
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Sunday 17 August 2014
Universities in the UK have been put on alert to be ready for a potential outbreak of the Ebola virus when the new term starts in September.
Universities UK, the umbrella body that represents vice-chancellors, has written to every university giving detailed guidance on how to deal with an outbreak. The decision was made to send out the guidance because universities are expecting thousands of new students to arrive from West Africa.
While the three countries which have seen the largest number of Ebola cases – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – have hardly any students enrolling at UK universities, Nigeria – which has had confirmed cases – is the fourth largest supplier of international students to UK universities. In 2012-13, the latest year for which figures are available, a total of 9,630 were enrolled.
A spokesman for Universities UK said: "The issue is very much on universities' radars. We circulated to universities the publicly available guidance on the topic."
The guidance makes it clear that anyone suspected of having Ebola should immediately be isolated in a side room away from any staff or student contact.
"The side room should have dedicated en-suite facilities or at least a dedicated commode," it says. "The level of staff protection is dependent on the patient's condition." Those having any dealings with the patient must take careful hand hygiene precautions, wearing double gloves and a disposable visor.
The guidance reassures university staff: "Evidence from outbreaks strongly indicates that the main routes of transmission of infection are direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membrane) and indirect contact with environments contaminated with splashes or droplets of blood or body fluids.
"Experts agree that there is no circumstantial or epidemiological evidence of an aerosol transmission risk from patients."
So far, there have been more than 1,060 deaths and 1,975 confirmed sufferers, but the World Health Organisation warns that the crisis is likely to continue for months.
The outbreak was first identified in March in Guinea.
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...
£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join ...
£190 - £200 per day: Ashdown Group: Payroll & Finance Manager - Covent Garden,...