WIU screening students for Ebola virus

A Tri-States campus is keeping an eye on the ongoing Ebola concerns across the world.

Western Illinois University is taking precaution before bringing in students from African countries and any infected area.

While all of its students have been cleared, the school is not taking any chances.

"Before the students actually came here I was concerned about Ebola, so I contacted the Centers for Disease Control and asked for some guidance, which we got, and they recommended screening the patients with histories which is what we've been doing," the Chief of Staff at WIU TMs Health Center, Michael Waters, said.

WIU performs these screenings on any student that moves here from an African county.

They are asked questions such as if they've been in contact with anyone who has the Ebola virus, if they have a family member with the virus and if they have treated anyone with it.

They then try to determine the individuals TM risk factors and check the student for any symptoms.

While the Ebola virus has already infected three Americans that have gone abroad to Western Africa, the virus does not seem to be impacting students at WIU.

"I TMm honestly not very concerned about the Ebola virus, WIU freshman Amy Borgstede said.

It's something to be worried about, but not something that's too threatening to where I am right now," another WIU freshman Michele Wasta said.

But one way that it could impact them, is if they travel abroad.

WIU has a trip to South Africa planned for this upcoming year, and is monitoring the situation to ensure that the area is not infected.

"Student safety is the absolute most important thing to us, that's why we're always monitoring all of the different e-mails that come in from the State Department, Assistant Director of Study Abroad, Emily Gorlewski, said. There's a lot of different things that we monitor so that we can make sure that our students are always going to be safe."

And although WIU currently has no students who have contracted the Ebola virus, they do have an action plan in place.

"The student who may have risk factors, but is totally A symptomatic, those students we would have isolated if there had been someone with an exposure history, if you have someone with an exposure history and symptoms, then those patients would have been admitted to the hospital, luckily we haven't had any of those patients," Waters said.

(Story by KHQA Multimedia Journalist Lauren Kalil.)