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Ebola epidemic prompts warnings in France

Joshua Melvin · 3 Apr 2014, 11:35

Published: 03 Apr 2014 11:35 GMT+02:00

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In response to concerns fanned by an epidemic of the deadly Ebola virus in Africa, French authorities have put into place procedures for airlines to isolate potentially sick people and have warned hospitals on how to deal with potential cases of the illness.

So far no people sick with Ebola have turned up in France, but officials are concerned tight links with west Africa could lead to a case being ‘imported’, French daily Le Parisien reported.

Their worries have been spurred by the death toll in Guinea which has risen to 83 in the few weeks since the outbreak kicked off.

Health authorities from the Direction Générale de la Santé have sent out a directive ordering Air France crews to immediately isolate passengers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who show symptoms of the disease.

The DGS order also instructs Air France personnel to immediately inform airport authorities if they think they have a case aboard a jetliner.

Additionally, the Ministry of Health has sent out an alert informing hospitals how they should handle a potential Ebola case. Institutions that suspect a case have been instructed to send samples from the patient for testing at the national lab using secure transport.

Starting this week the Foreign Ministry also issued a travel alert for Guinea, “discouraging moving to or staying in the area of ​​the epidemic." The ministry is expected to provide further warnings in the coming days. 

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According to the World Health Organization, outbreaks of the disease have a fatality rate of up to 90 percent and occur most frequently in remote central and west Africa villages. There is no specific treatment of the virus and no vaccine against it. 

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

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