By Chloé Margulis
Ebola outbreaks in west Africa have been on the rise since September. The first travel-associated case of Ebola was diagnosed in the U.S. on Sept. 30. The question is: are we prepared to fight Ebola?
After the initial onslaught of Ebola, Vines about how we should protect ourselves from this epidemic are becoming viral (pun intended). Some make the situation light by wearing a bodysuit, gas mask, and lighting a flame in front of a coughing friend. But, these Viners makes us question: how far do we actually have to go to ensure Ebola doesn’t spread in America and, more specifically, at LIU?
Medical doctors have recently been removed from campus—so, we can only hope that NYIT is taking proper measurements to prevent the spread of Ebola cases for both schools. Secondly, there is no effective vaccine against the disease. What is there left for LIU to do? For starters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests educational institutions temporarily refrain from sending their students to Ebola-inflicted regions of west Africa. Whether you are studying abroad or spending spring vacation in west Africa, you are putting yourself and the United States at risk. You might not even be around Ebola patients, however, one encounter with any medical attendant in these regions might just be your ticket to an Ebola malady.
What do we do if an LIU student was in west Africa over the past month? If so, a nurse or doctor must look for symptoms of Ebola in the LIU traveler. Seeing that we don’t have a doctor on campus, it would be difficult for LIU to diagnose a student. Nevertheless, LIU would probably send all students who traveled to west Africa down the road to NYIT, where, hopefully, the institution would put the LIU student in a private room to be further studied.
The point is, LIU is not prepared for Ebola. College campuses see an influx of students from all around the world—including resident students who travel abroad to all countries. There is a possibility that someone at LIU recently went to an outbreak country, but LIU wouldn’t know how to diagnose the person because we don’t have medical staff aware of all aspects of Ebola including how to deal with an Ebola patient, and we are not educating the students about it. It’s as if LIU is relying on NYIT to take care of any cases of Ebola between BOTH schools. A suggestion to LIU is to educate the students by sending email blasts about possible symptoms and how to report symptoms if you had traveled to regions where Ebola cases have been reported.
Additionally, LIU can post information (including medical assistance hotlines) in the dorms and around the buildings with recommendations for anyone who went to one of the countries. The last thing LIU can do is suspend all study abroad opportunities to outbreak countries. These are necessary precautions for any university to take, and I think it is the right step forward for LIU in the fight against Ebola.