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'Increase in racism' due to Ebola fear

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A doctor in Liberia. Photo: APA/ÄRZTE OHNE GRENZEN/CAROLINE VAN NESPEN
10:29 CEST+02:00
The Austrian Red Cross is warning that black people are being unnecessarily stigmatised in Austria because of fears of an Ebola outbreak.

It points to anecdotal evidence such as black children being sent home from school if they have a cough, or neighbours panicking if a black person in their apartment block complains of a fever, according to Die Presse newspaper.

Gerry Foitik, an Austrian Red Cross rescue commander, said their fears are completely unfounded as the virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, and people are only at risk of catching it if they have been in West Africa or had contact with someone who had Ebola. The incubation period can last from two days to three weeks.

Ebola symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage

“A black African who has been living in Austria for the past three weeks has the same risk of being infected with Ebola as a farmer from east Tyrol,” Foitik said.

He added that during the Sars crisis Asians were also stigmatised, and in the case of the Mers-coronavirus it will be the turn of people from the Middle East.  

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