British universities have been warned about a potential Ebola outbreak on their campuses this September as they prepare to accept thousands of Nigerian students.
Universities UK, the body representing universities in Britain, sent letters to all vice-chancellors with instructions of how to deal with the deadly virus which has claimed hundreds of lives.
Thousands of West African students will enroll at universities in the UK this September. Nigeria, where there have been confirmed cases of Ebola, is the fourth biggest source of the UK’s international students, with a total of 9,630 enrolled in 2012-13.
A spokesperson for Universities UK said: "Universities take the welfare of all their students and staff very seriously. From contact we have had over the past few weeks, we know many are closely monitoring the situation with regard to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and any impact this may have on their institution.
"Universities UK has been, and will remain, in close contact with government officials and public health agencies on this issue to ensure we can advise and support our members. We are also working closely with other organisations to ensure the appropriate advice reaches relevant individuals within student services and university administration."
Staff are advised anyone suspected of having the virus must be placed in isolation in a side room, the Independent reported.
However, the organisation reassured VCs Ebola is not transmitted through the air but only through “direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membrane) and indirect contact with environments contaminated with splashes or droplets of blood or body fluids".
According to the World Health Organisation, Ebola has a fatality rate of up to 90%. The virus has killed 1,229 people in West Africa since it was first reported in March.
Ebola originates from wild animals and its symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, problems with liver and kidney function and internal and external bleeding.