Ebola Panic Returns: Rwanda Reinstates Airport Checks

The government of Rwanda has reinstated mandatory Ebola screening and self-reporting procedures at its airports, as Liberia imposes regular temperature checks at school to monitor any new potential cases following the death of 15-year-old Nathan Gbotoe of the disease in late November.

Gbotoe was diagnosed and ultimately died of Ebola and at least two of his family members have tested positive for the virus. The World Health Organization had declared the nation of Liberia Ebola-free on September 3.

The East African reports that Rwanda is taking immediate measures to ensure that travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of West Africa – Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone – are properly screened and anyone exhibiting symptoms of the virus is treated promptly. Any visitor to Rwanda who has come from an Ebola-affected country is required to identify themselves as such to Ministry of Health authorities upon landing in the nation’s borders and submit to proper monitoring, even if not showing symptoms of Ebola. Those who register as having come from Ebola-affected nations will be required to report to the government on a daily basis for temperature and other symptomatic checks.

Rwandan Health Ministry spokesman Nathan Mugume tells the newspaper “there is no cause for alarm and no danger,” but the government does not want to gamble with the possibility of Ebola spreading to a new country. While Rwanda has not recorded any domestic cases of Ebola, its government has been among the most proactive in screening for the virus, even temporarily screening all American citizens entering the country for Ebola following a death in the U.S. of the disease, traced back to Liberia.

Liberia is currently monitoring 165 people who have been exposed to the new Ebola virus carriers. Medical officials have only diagnosed three cases of Ebola since the nation was declared Ebola-free, however, including Gbotoe. His father and brother are believed to be the other two victims, and both are expected to be discharged from the hospital and declared free of Ebola on Thursday, December 3. “It has been 12 days with no new cases and contacts are being followed up. Some of the contacts will be completing their 21 days,” a Liberian medical spokesman clarified Tuesday.

Liberian authorities do not yet know how Gbotoe contracted the disease, triggering greater concern that his was not a case linked to the greater outbreak beginning in February 2014, but patient zero of a new outbreak following exposure to contaminated meat. A new outbreak begins with a patient contracts Ebola from a non-human source; Ebola is commonly found in the blood of undercooked “bush meat,” a common source of protein in much of Africa. READ MORE OF THIS STORY

 

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