Eight CCU students, one staff member screened for Ebola

Some colleges and universities in the United State are screening students and faculty who've been to West Africa recently, as the deadly Ebola outbreak continues to spread.

Eight students and one faculty member at Coastal Carolina University have been screened for Ebola this school term.

They were flagged for additional health checks because they recently traveled to West Africa.

"Any student or faculty who have traveled to any of the four countries listed with Ebola virus, we screened," according to Dr. Jennifer Kuperman, a physician at CCU's Student Health Services. "We went through both the international student department and the athletic department just to make sure we didn't miss anyone."

The screenings were not limited to people who traveled to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, where the virus continues to kill.

"There were also people who went to a conference in Washington, D.C. and were near other students who had been to those countries, and we screened those as well," said Dr. Kuperman.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not issued specific recommendations for colleges in the US, however, South Carolina is among some states whose health departments have created specific instructions for schools on what symptoms to look for.

"The CDC worked with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and gave us a screening questionnaire that we're using," added Dr. Kuperman.

One symptom health officials are looking for is fever.

"Anyone who's found to be at risk has to take their temperature twice a day because fever is one of the first symptoms. Prior to fever, patients who have Ebola are not thought to be contagious," according to Dr. Kuperman. "We do have people who are monitoring their temperature twice a day."

The potential for Ebola to spread on a US college campus is low, but it's something Dr. Kuperman says health officials are keeping an eye on with thousands of international students entering the country this year.

"I think it's always something to be concerned about, but I think that there's nothing to be worried about because hopefully anyone who has the virus would be found long before they came into contact with other people and isolated appropriately."