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France tells doctors to monitor for Ebola virus after major outbreak in West Africa

The move was preventative and had not been prompted by the detection of any symptoms, France's health minister said.

Ebola outbreak west africa april 1 2014Enlarge
A medical staff worker of the Doctors without Borders medical aid organization is assisted with the disinfecting of his gloves at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guinea, on April 1, 2014. (SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

French health authorities on Thursday put doctors and hospitals on alert to report any signs that an Ebola virus outbreak affecting West Africa had infected patients in France, though no symptoms had yet been detected.

France maintains close relations with several former colonies in the region, with immigrants and the employees of French multinational firms travelling frequently back and forth.

An outbreak of the disease — which has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent — originated in Guinea two months ago and has spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone, while Gambia has placed two people in quarantine.

More from GlobalPost: The 6 deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history

"We have put doctors in France on alert so that they will think of this disease if they come across certain symptoms," Health Minister Marisol Touraine told i>Tele television.

The move was preventative and not been prompted by the detection of any symptoms, she added.

France's DGS public health authority placed hospitals and emergency services on alert, a spokeswoman said.

More from GlobalPost: Why we should all be paying attention to the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in Guinea

Further instructions were sent to health authorities in the larger Paris region regarding passengers arriving at the Charles de Gaulle international airport, though no measures had yet been taken to restrict travel.

(Reporting by Chine Labbe and Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Andrew Callus and Alison Williams)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/140403/france-has-alerted-doctors-monitor-ebola-virus-after-majo