NEW YORK (AFP) – Members of the west African community in New York complained Wednesday that their children were being bullied at school and businesses were losing money because of hysteria over Ebola.
Panic has gripped many Americans since a Liberian citizen brought the killer virus into the country and died on October 8 of the disease in a Texas hospital.
Two nurses who treated him became infected, though recovered, and a US doctor who returned to New York from treating Ebola patients in Guinea was diagnosed with the virus last week.
In the face of public panic, some US states and the Pentagon have imposed quarantine rules for people returning from Ebola-afflicted countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The African Advisory Council (AAC), a community group in New York, called a news conference in the Bronx, home to one of the largest African communities in the United States, to demand better education to end the fear.
“I need my community to be safe but also to be protected,” said congressman for the Bronx, Jose Serrano, likening the fear of Ebola to the ignorance and panic that once confronted the emergence of AIDS.
Last week, two Senegalese boys were called Ebola and assaulted at a school in the Bronx so badly they had to go to hospital, community leaders said.
The boys had three weeks previously moved to New York to join their father, a cab driver who has lived in the United States for nearly 20 years.