Kids kept from school in Ebola hysteria
Rwandan siblings driven from US school after baseless fears over exposure to Ebola.
Two primary school children were forced to stay at home after other parents voiced fears that the pair had possibly been exposed to Ebola as they had recently moved to New Jersey, US, from Rwanda. This is despite the fact that Rwanda is more than 4 000 kilometres away from the West African region affected by the disease, according to Media ITE.

The US outbreak that wasn't...

The US has been scrambling to put measures in place to avoid a local outbreak of Ebola, although only one out of the 4555 confirmed deaths relating to the disease happened in the States.

Liberia is the worst-hit country in West Africa followed by Sierra Leone and Guinea; those regions are in the midst of a health crisis which the World Health Organisation has said is exacerbated by the fact that the number of patients is increasing faster than the capacity to manage them, reported the BBC.

There has been widespread fear mongering in the US and some European countries; some have already put travel restrictions in place.

This hysteria has put pressure on many African countries unaffected by the disease with trade and tourism being hampered by general paranoia. These restrictions also affect individuals on a personal level, too, as seen in the case of the two children that were forced to stay home from school for the full twenty-one day incubation period in order to placate nervous parents.

Other parents in the school had made statements to the media that they were concerned about the “risks” involved in allowing the siblings to attend school. Critics have mocked these statements as ludicrous since Rwanda has had no cases of Ebola and it is on the other side of the African continent from the countries affected.

Medical professionals have been quick to point out that other illnesses have had a much greater impact on society even during this current Ebola outbreak and that too many myths around Ebola are being perpetuated.

According to News24, South Africa has tested fourteen people for Ebola, all of whom tested negative. It was reported that South Africa’s minister of health had said that the testing was done primarily to “settle people’s nerves” and that most of the potential cases did not fit the criteria for the disease.

Schools are generally equipped to deal with infectious diseases in SA; in cases where one child is diagnosed with meningitis, for example, whole schools have been treated as a precaution.

Have you ever kept your child home from school because other children have had infectious diseases?

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