Ikeoluwa traveled with her father, Stephen Opayemi, Oct. 2-13 to Lagos, Nigeria, for a family wedding. The Opayemi family says that health director Dr. Dennis McBride initially told them that Ikeoluwa should be screened, which they agreed to. The father, Stephen Opayemi, even took her to a doctor to get a clean bill of health. But then McBride said the little girl should stay home, due to Ebola panic—even though the family only visited Nigeria. From the CT Post:
Ebola is a contagious illness that has killed nearly 5,000 people, mostly in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Though there was a small outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria that caused 19 illnesses and seven deaths, there has not been a case in the country in more than a month. Indeed, the country has been praised for its aggressive efforts to contain the disease.
Screening protocols released by the state Department of Public Health and the governor’s office on Monday only said travelers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone would be monitored for Ebola upon returning to the United States. Nigeria has not been mentioned as a “red flag” country by state health authorities.
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy’s office said that McBride’s decision didn’t come from the state, “This was a decision by the town’s public health official. The state did not play a role in making this determination, and this family is not under any quarantine orders.”
Stephen Opayemi said, “She is unfairly treated and discriminated against because of a fear some people have [that] she might have Ebola.” Opayemi said the school district was sending a tutor to their house for 90 minutes a day, and argued that this proves the district wasn’t truly worried about the disease.
The lawsuit is asking for $250,000 in damages and for Ikeoluwa to be allowed to return to class immediately.