The Ebola scare hit a new area of the EU, with the Prague Post reporting that Czech Republic may have received it’s first infected patient.
A woman who checked into a hospital in Karlovy Vary was transferred to a hospital in Prague when she showed the symptoms of Ebola, and recently came back from a trip in Africa. Doctors have yet to diagnosis the woman, but this is the second scare in the Czech Republic in the past week.
Another businessman coming back from Liberia in West Africa was taken into quarantine in the hospital of Na Bulovce in Prague. Despite showing symptoms for the deadly disease, the patient ultimately tested negative. Nevertheless, the Czech government has taken action to prevent any future cases.
The Czech prime minister announced that they would start to screen passengers coming through Prague’s international airport who visited the affected areas of Africa in the past 42 days to prevent an Ebola outbreak. Passengers will be asked to disclose their whereabouts in West Africa, and undergo a medical check.
The measures will start next week, but some fear that the screenings will be an unnecessary inconvenience since no flights go directly from West Africa to Prague’s airport.
If a hypothetical outbreak does get out of hand, the prime minister says that a military hospital will be prepared to admit Ebola patients.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, about 10 Ebola patients have been brought into the European Union, with some worried after the officials said that the patients were not “absolutely risk free.” That risk may be even higher than first believed, as researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered a strain of Ebola that can be transmitted through the air.
Before the new discovery, Ebola was only able to be transmitted through bodily fluids.
The Czech Republic screenings might be another step towards a conflict between civil liberties and public health.
As New York civil rights lawyer Paul Millus explained to the AP, it’s a challenge to balance the two.
“People would rather do more than less, and the problem is that it becomes a slippery slope in terms of rights.”
Although the screenings at the Prague airport are just an inconvenience, measures on the front line of West Africa have become severe.
According to the AP, government officials have set up lock downs, curfews, even roadblocks to end the outbreak. They have also stopped traditional burial rites that involve touching the dead.
The scare has been enough to prevent some receiving medical treatment.
A team of doctors working in the affected area recently chose to turn away all pregnant women in need of care, because child birth creates one of the biggest risks for transmission.
As South African Pediatrician Juli Switala explained to The Associated Press, it creates a difficult ethical dilemma.
“It’s very difficult to be the gynecologist who is making the decision to do a Caesarean section where there is going to be a lot of blood and a lot of body fluids, and you are putting your staff and team at risk if you do this.”
The doctors won’t have to make those decisions late at night though, since the curfews would bar any transportation past 7 p.m. for pregnant women in labor.
Is the Czech Republic’s medical screenings at the Prague airport the first sign of disintegrating civil rights?