FREEPORT, Maine, (CBS Connecticut) – A Maine middle school student was reportedly isolated from her classmates after telling another student that her father was being tested for Ebola.
The school quickly sent out a statement to let parents know it was false.
In the statement, Freeport Middle School explained to parents that the student told a high school student that his father was being tested for Ebola because of a rash, the Portland Press Herald reports.
That high school student told her parents, who then contacted the middle school. Middle school Principal Ray Grogan said in the letter that school administrators “acted as if the student had been exposed to the virus and separated her from others while contacting her parents to investigate the report.”
The school nurse examined the student that started the rumor and quickly knew that the student was not infected.
“Through these steps, it became clear there was no public health concern,” the letter went on to say.
Officials said the school says they acted appropriately.
“They did what they were supposed to do,” Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Portland Press Herald.
The school did not say whether the student meant it to be a hoax or just misunderstood.
Pinette believes the student just misunderstood what her father was being treated for.
“Our staff did a commendable job dealing with this difficult situation,” Regional School Unit 5 Superintendent Michael Lafortune said in a separate statement, which accompanied the letter home from the school to parents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of Ebola appear within 21 days after being exposed to the virus. They include, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and unexplained bleeding. The virus cannot be spread through the air and is transmitted through contact with the blood or bodily fluids of those who are infected and who are showing symptoms.
The World Health Organization says the world’s largest Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,800 in West Africa.