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LI, U.S. colleges screening students coming from Ebola-hit West Africa

Farmingdale State College and other U.S. universities are screening students arriving from West Africa to determine if they have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus.

At Farmingdale, two students from Nigeria completed a questionnaire when they arrived on campus, a spokeswoman said.

"The two students . . . are currently engaged in a four-question risk assessment to determine what, if any, action needs to be taken," Kathryn S. Coley, Farmingdale's senior director of communications, said Friday.

"They are both transfers and are commuting. One is a first semester student and the other [one] is in [the] second semester at Farmingdale State College," Coley said in an email. Farmingdale classes began Aug. 25.

As the virus continues to spread in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the arrival of thousands of students from those countries has U.S. authorities on alert but cautioning against alarm.

Administrators at the nation's colleges, including on Long Island, are trying to insulate their campuses from the hemorrhagic fever.

The New York Institute of Technology and Stony Brook University released statements Friday about the deadly virus, saying the schools are monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website for information on the outbreak.

Elaine Iandoli, of the office of communications at NYIT, said in a statement: "We have confidence in screening procedures by the U.S. Customs Service and medical screening/immunization requirements of New York State. If a member of our student body or a staff/faculty member has a communicable health issue, we will work with local medical providers to address the condition and follow all protocols as required."

The American College Health Association recommends its members update emergency plans, find out where patients have traveled and use isolation exam rooms when available.

Stony Brook University has cautioned its students not to travel to infected areas in West Africa.

"Dr. Elizabeth Bringsjord, SUNY's interim provost and executive vice chancellor, has directed all campuses to prohibit campus-sponsored travel to countries where the CDC has issued a travel warning. Thus, Stony Brook University prohibits campus-sponsored travel to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone," Stony Brook said in a statement.

U.S. universities count 9,728 active students from Nigeria, 204 from Liberia, 169 from Sierra Leone and 95 students from Guinea, according to the federal government.

With AP