MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida international University’s Dr. Aileen Marty had a teaching moment about contagions as she addressed a classroom full of future doctors Wednesday.

Marty, a globally recognized expert on infectious disease, is just back from a month in the teeth of the Ebola epidemic in Africa.  Among her greatest concerns is that those arriving from the infected dark continent, she included, are not being screened.

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“There were no public health questions asked of me when I returned,” Marty said.  “No concern or no alarm happened, even though I had been in Nigeria.”

Marty believes everyone arriving from West Africa, unlike her and the victim now being treated in Dallas, should be examined on arrival, and then aggressively monitored for any symptoms that might develop.

At UM/Jackson health today, a team of experts said the Ebola scare has changed the way they operate, starting with the first question when a patient comes to the emergency room.

“They ask them their travel history,” said Dr. Abdul Memom of Jackson Health Systems.  “If they say yes, they have been to one of the countries within the last 21 days, then that sounds a high alert.”

Immediate isolation is key.

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“The patients are placed in a room to prevent infection from spreading anywhere else in the hospital,” said Dr. Jose Castro of UM Health.

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Long before the Ebola case turned up in Dallas, doctors and nurses in South Florida were running full-blown dress rehearsals.

Just this week, Jackson performed a mock drill: A pregnant woman came in from Liberia, exhibiting symptoms of Ebola.  She was immediately isolated. The child was delivered and the woman treated. She did not pull through, under the make-believe scenario.  Doctors and nurses played the drill as if for real from beginning to end.

It had all seemed so surreal, the images of suffering and dying playing out so far away across the sea in Africa.  But now a sobering reality has set in: Potentially deadly Ebola could be arriving on Concourse D.

At Miami international Airport, and other major airports, the Centers for Disease Control have created quarantine rooms where passengers who might arrive visibly ill will be isolated until they can be moved to a hospital.

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