US Girl Barred Over Ebola Returns To School

(VOA NEWS) A leading U.S. newspaper says a seven-year-old girl in the northeastern state of Connecticut has returned to her classroom after being barred from school because of fears she may have been exposed to the Ebola virus while visiting Africa.

The New York Times says Ikeoluwa Opayemi was allowed back into her school Friday in  Milford, reversing the school system's earlier decision to keep her out of class for 21 days, the time it can take for symptoms of the disease to emerge.

The Times said the girl and her father had traveled to Nigeria in October for a family wedding, but there are no known Ebola patients in Nigeria.

The newspaper said the family had sued the Milford school system and both sides have agreed to settle the case.  No details of the settlement were released.

Also Friday, a judge in the northeastern U.S. state of Maine has ruled against a mandatory quarantine the state had sought to impose on a nurse who returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa.

The judge said Kaci Hickox is showing no signs of Ebola and is free to travel, but must notify health officials immediately if her health situation changes. She said the quarantine violated her civil rights.

Hickox had refused to comply with the state's quarantine measures and Thursday and went on a bicycle ride with her boyfriend. She also shook hands with a reporter this week, after an impromptu news conference.

Liberia opens treatment center

Meanwhile, Liberia has opened one of the country's largest treatment centers for Ebola, as the death toll from the disease continues to rise in West Africa.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf thanked the international community for its part in opening the 200-bed center, which was built with help from American soldiers and will be operated by Cuban doctors.

The World Health Organization said the death toll from Ebola has risen to 4,951, with most of the deaths in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.  The agency slightly lowered the number of overall Ebola cases to 13,567 due mainly to some suspected cases in Guinea being shown false.

The U.N. agency also issued new guidelines for health workers treating Ebola patients, recommending that they double up on gloves and completely cover their eyes, mouths and noses.  It said the choice of protective gear is much less important than how that gear is put on and taken off.

Ebola is spread through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids.  The virus causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea.

Despite an International Monetary Fund prediction of 6.7% growth in Burkina Faso in 2014, the country ranks 181st out of 187 countries on the UN Development Programme Human Development Index and is rated as the world’s third poorest country.


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