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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Universities Take Precautions Against Ebola

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is among those canceling its fall programs in West Africa. Pictured are incoming freshman attending Liberty University's summer orientation. (Ty Hester/Liberty University via Facebook)

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is among those canceling its fall programs in West Africa. Pictured are incoming freshman attending the university’s summer orientation. (Ty Hester/Liberty University via Facebook)

The World Health Organization has announced that the Ebola virus continues to spread, and there are now predictions that it could afflict more than 20,000 people.

With the growing concern, many universities around the world have suspended their fall semester programs in West Africa.

Dr. Richard Lane is director of the Master of Public Health program at Liberty University, a private Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia. It’s among the universities that have canceled their fall study abroad programs in West Africa.

Liberty University also surveyed all students to find out if they’ve traveled through West Africa. For students who have, the university is asking them to take their temperature twice a day to monitor for fever, one of the first symptoms of Ebola.

Like many large universities, we recruit students from abroad and we wanted to look and see how many we had coming, see how ​soon before classes they were arriving, and determine whether there was actually any risk,” Lane told Here & Now’s Sacha Pfeiffer.

“Just because there’s the disease in some area of that country, even if it’s across town it doesn’t mean you’re at risk of being exposed to that disease.”
– Dr. Richard Lane

Between 17 students from Nigeria and students who traveled independently over the summer, none of the students had direct contact with the Ebola virus, but the university is still monitoring them for the community’s safety. But Lane says that no one should be concerned.

“If they traveled to those particular countries, there’s not necessarily a risk and people need to understand that,” he explained. “You’ve got a big country, and just because there’s the disease in some area of that country, even if it’s across town it doesn’t mean you’re at risk of being exposed to that disease.”

As a specialist in public health and tropical medicine, Lane is particularly enjoying the chance to interact with students from the region as he monitors their condition.

“They can tell you how their country is responding and the fear that some of these people are experiencing in these countries,” he said. “They bring a real understanding of how the culture works and how the lack of infrastructure in these African nations contributes to the occurrence of Ebola.”

No one has reported a fever so far, but area health centers and hospitals are prepared to isolate anyone who does during the 21-day incubation period. When the three weeks are over, Lane will continue to watch the Ebola outbreak, hoping it will be controlled in time for a group of faculty and students to travel to Benin in December.

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  • CantConfirmOrDeny

    Liberty “University”. Are you kidding me? You couldn’t find a real school for this report?

    • JG

      Ad hominem much?

  • Steve D.

    I’m more shocked that Liberty offers degrees in medicine and science than anything else…I thought they didn’t believe in things like, you know, facts.

    • S David H de Lorge

      Listen for a podcast by their biology department chair discussing the subversive use of “prokaryote” vis a vis “eukaryote,” asserting that it is used to sneak Darwin’s camel’s nose under the tent. He says that since “pro” means “before,” it inherently introduces suggestion that the earth is greater than six thousand years old and that species have evolved from previous species. He seems to suppose that cells with and without nuclei were independently simultaneously created.

      Or was it Regency U? Can’t keep up with em, although i haven’t heard much of Oral Roberts U lately.

      I think Liberty teaches premed, but doesn’t have a med school. It’s a bit surprising to hear they have an MPH, but that fits with missionarrying, I guess. The Law School is another snort, but most of their curriculum/faculty seems limited to pretty elementary stuff. If I remember, he’s the only one in the department with a PhD, and the major is a sort of Hodge podge. Some swell university!

      • Steve D.

        I would imagine that out there in the real world, getting a pre-med degree from Liberty would be akin to getting a degree in Couples Therapy from West Point. Just doesn’t add up.

        • S David H de Lorge

          Ya gotta wonder.

    • Rick

      It’s actually a pretty well-respected university. No need to hate them just because you disagree with their religion.

      • joemamas

        No Rick it is NOT a respected university by anyone with a REAL education, only right wing morons like you and the folks on NPR evidently

        • JG

          Define “real education” please…

  • Steve D.

    I was half hoping that he would discuss their ‘locust preparedness program’…

  • joemamas

    wow how does NPR choose some hack from Liberty ‘University’ to interview among all the qualified medical professionals in this country? Srsly SOMEONE at NPR must know that Liberty is Jerry Falwells fake ‘university’ created purposely to promote his right wing ‘christian’ propaganda…hey I here they have a ‘law’ school too, maybe you could get one of their hateful professors to expound on the immorality of gay marriage, women’s reproductive rights, teaching ‘creationism’ in schools, etc…how sad and disappointing the Nice Polite Republican ‘journalists’ at NPR are these these days

    • Rick

      Lol, you really think NPR employs a single person who has ever voted for a Republican in their entire life? I don’t think so.

      • joemamas

        Rick you’re not very bright are you?

    • JG

      Some hack who’s a program director with 30+ years of Tropical Disease specialization…?

  • joemamas

    …and ‘Doctor’ Lane’s specialties are “Eating disorders & related mental disorders of adolescence, tropical & emerging diseases, International health AND flight physiology” WTF? in all my years in the medical profession I have NEVER seen/ met/ heard of a physician ‘specializing’ in such a diverse collection of fields…maybe he forgot to add “sexual abstinence”?

    • JG

      Actually, according to his file he specializes in Aerospace Medicine.

  • synchroman

    Scientists found the origins of the Ebola outbreak — by tracking its mutations
    Link to the story:
    http://www.vox.com/2014/8/28/6071071/ebola-sequencing/in/5712456

  • Steve D.

    I’ve always wondered where they draw the line between what science is ‘OK’ and what science is just propaganda created by us leftists. It was very interesting…he sounded somewhat competent when discussing Ebola, but I wish the interview would have ended with him being asked, “Yeah, but don’t you also believe the earth is 900 years old?”

    • Rick

      Maybe you should reconsider some of your strongly held prejudices.

      • Steve D.

        as should we all…

    • JG

      So earth age now affects medical practice…?

  • synchroman

    “Just because there’s the disease in some
    area of that country, even if it’s across town it doesn’t mean you’re at
    risk of being exposed to that disease.”
    – Dr. Richard Lane
    That is an extremely uneducated statement to make. Liberty’s casual handling of possible ebola infected students is irresponsible. Liberty is heading down the same rabbit hole that the families of infected members are doing.

    • JG

      Take the quote in context… Not just because it’s in big print.

  • synchroman

    NPR seems to be competing with Jon Stewart of the daily show. The interview on NPR resembled that of one on The Daily Show.

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