National Assembly member Patrick Balkany claims that the Ebola virus has hit France, but his comments were quickly denied by the country’s health authorities.
“According to reliable medical sources, several cases have been reported in the French territory,” Balkany stated on his website, adding, “It did not fall from the sky….but given the medical secret, I can not reveal my source.”
Sylvain Baize, Director of the National Reference Center (NRC), repudiated the claim, stating in an email, “I can tell you that so far there are no confirmed cases of infection with Ebola virus in France.”
If the Ebola virus were to arrive in Europe, France would be one of the likeliest destinations given the country’s large number of immigrants from African countries. Nearly 43 per cent of all immigrants in France have African origins, increasing the chances of immigrants or their family members traveling back and forth from Ebola-stricken countries.
An elderly Spanish priest became the first European to die from Ebola earlier this week after being evacuated from Liberia on August 7. 75-year-old Miguel Pajares was given the experimental serum ZMapp but the treatment failed.
The Ebola virus has killed over 1,000 people so far and is the worst outbreak in history. Last week, the World Health Organization declared the crisis to be an international public health emergency and followed up by giving the green light for experimental vaccines to be tested on victims.