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The Carletonian

Ebola Scare Puts Paid to Ghana Trip

<ividual cases of Ebola started popping up across the Unites States last Fall, Carleton took some precautionary steps.

Most significantly, Off-Campus Study re-routed a December Study Abroad program originally bound for Ghana to Amsterdam.

The decision was made only a couple weeks in advance and was a tough call to make because it obviously changed the nature of the trip.

For OCS, this sort of change of plan is unusual but not unheard-of. Sometimes they have to move a trip if the destination is politically unstable.

Ebola is even harder to deal with though, said Helena Kaufman, Director of OCS. “With an infectious disease, there is more uncertainty. The threat is less tangible.”

When violence breaks out in a region, the dangers involved in evacuating are obvious and contained to the people on the trip and their rescuers. But when an infectious disease necessitates an evacuation, it’s harder to know what areas are safe.

Also, even after the evacuation, the students and rescuers can’t know for sure if they have caught the disease. This is especially problematic because it makes their communities at home vulnerable when they return.

SHAC is well aware of the dangers of students traveling to places where Ebola is active.

They have consulted with an infectious disease team and receive guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as from the Minnesota Health Department.

Their staff focused on being ready to respond if someone at Carleton became infected.

“We feel we did all we could to prepare,” said Natalee Johnson, the Coordinator of Medical Services at the SHAC.

But now that there are no known cases of Ebola in the United States and Study Abroad trips have now returned, Kaufman and Johnson agree Ebola has become less of a concern for Carleton.

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