06/08/2014 04:58 BST | Updated 06/08/2014 04:59 BST

South Korean University Bans Nigerian Students Over Ebola Fears

A university in South Korea has banned three Nigerian students it had invited to a conference from attending amid concerns about the highly contagious Ebola virus which has already claimed more than 700 lives.

Duksung Women’s University, a private institution in Seoul, cancelled invitations to the students who were due to attend the World Congress of Global Partnership for Young Women conference, an event held in partnership with the UN.

"The school announced that it canceled all invitations issued to three students from Nigeria. Also, students from countries in other parts of Africa will have to undergo additional health inspections before participating in the event," the student president of Duksung told The Korea Times.

More than 15,000 people signed an online petition to have the "dangerous" invitations rescinded. Students from other regions in Africa will still be attending, although the university is in talks with the government on how to deal with the "potential problem".

Since February, Ebola has killed hundreds of people in West Africa, while no cure or vaccine is available to treat patients.

The disease is a viral illness, often characterised by the onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

Symptoms can take anyone between two and 21 days to appear.