Japanese health officials tested a man for the Ebola virus on Monday, after the Japanese-Canadian showed a 100-degree fever at Haneda airport in Tokyo after traveling to Liberia. Test results were expected early Tuesday.
The 45-year-old man is a journalist who spent two months in the West African country devastated by a massive Ebola virus outbreak, according to the Japan Times. He was transported to the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Shinjuku, where his blood was tested by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.
The man flew to Belgium and the United Kingdom before arriving in Tokyo. He was in Liberia from August until mid-October, when he visited Belgium, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. If confirmed, it would be Japan’s first case of the disease.
At a news conference, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki urged the public to be calm. “You would not become infected with Ebola unless you come into contact with an Ebola patient,” he said.
Shiozaki’s ministry began asking all passengers arriving at Japan’s 30 international airports if they were in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea or the Democratic Republic of Congo within the last 21 days, which is how long the Ebola virus can incubate in a person before causing symptoms. Fever typically sets in before the most visible and violent symptoms, like severe vomiting and diarrhea. A sore throat and muscle pain are also early signs of the virus.
All passengers that have been to those four countries are sent to a special quarantine area where health care workers take their temperature and confirm if they had contact with Ebola patients. Officials put similar measures into place at Japan’s seaports. A special group was set up within the ministry to train staff members on how to properly treat Ebola patients so to avoid secondary infections.