21/10/2014 12:26 BST | Updated 21/10/2014 12:59 BST

Ebola Fears: Harvard Students Must Ask University's Permission To Travel To West Africa

Elise Amendola/AP
Students walk into Kirkland House on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Mark Zuckerberg created the social networking website that came to be known as Facebook, in his Kirkland House dorm room in 2004. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Students at Harvard University have to ask permission to travel to countries stricken by ebola as fears it will spread across the globe grow.

Along with teachers and any other university affiliates, students have been warned not to travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia unless absolutely necessary. Anyone returning from those countries must complete medical screenings with the university and may be asked to stay clear of the campus for 21 days, the length of the virus' incubation period, according to the Harvard Crimson.

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The Massachusetts-based university is also undertaking planning exercises to prepare for a case of ebola.

The news comes as the death toll struck 4,546. Other universities in the UK have also taken precautions against the disease.

Cleaners at various institutions have been warned to watch out for blood or vomit in students' bedrooms, while plans have been drawn up to monitor high-risk students, in particular those sharing bathrooms or kitchens, for up to three weeks.

Around 20,000 students from countries in West Africa which have been affected by the disease are returning to study at British universities, prompting the alert.