As talk of the Ebola virus increases, it is inevitable that people start to worry about possible contact with those returning from countries affected.
Some parents at a school near Paris have taken their children out of classes after learning that three boys recently returned from Guinea.
The mother of one pupil at the school in Boulogne Billancourt said: “It’s true we should have put him in quarantine, for the period of three weeks before symptoms appear. But what do we do during this time? Do we take our children out of school, do we leave them?”
The school has told parents there is nothing it can do while the boys show no symptoms and are not considered contagious.
Sebastian Dumont, the father of a pupil and member of a parents’ union, said: “There are no reasons to stigmatise the children and their families for reasons that are non-existent.”
Some countries have introduced measures at airports, automatically testing passengers for signs of fever, but often that is not seen as effective.
Professor John Sydney Oxford, a virologist at the Queen Mary University of London, said: “ I know that President Obama has raised the whole issue about screening at the airport. It has not worked in the past. It has not worked with influenza, it’s not worked with SARS, MERS. You know, all you do is cause confusion and upset.
“The best way to go about this – and it’s a wonderful thing to attempt to do, and I think we can do it – is to go at this virus, to declare war on it, as it were, and go at it at the source, where it is, in West Africa.”
Meanwhile, a Norwegian woman working in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders has been brought home for treatment for Ebola.
The worker was placed in isolation after developing a fever and then tests confirmed she was infected with the virus.