Liberians In America Help Dispel Ebola Myths Back Home : Goats and Soda A phone network of families that spans continents is helping get the word out: To protect yourselves from Ebola, don't eat bush meat, get sick loved ones medical treatment and avoid their body fluids.
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Liberians In America Help Dispel Ebola Myths Back Home

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Liberians In America Help Dispel Ebola Myths Back Home

Liberians In America Help Dispel Ebola Myths Back Home

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And you heard him say that some people think Ebola comes from sorcery or from curses. That's the kind of confusion that's a big enemy in controlling this disease. People do not grasp how Ebola is spread or how it can be stopped. Public health officials want to spread better information. And they're now turning for help to Liberian communities in the United States. Here's Jim Burress from our member station WABE in Atlanta.

JIM BURRESS, BYLINE: These days Ebola is always on Amelia Togba-Addy's mind. She lives in Atlanta. And when her aunt called early one morning last week...

AMELIA TOGBA-ADDY: So when she called me, the first thing I thought about - oh, a family member has come down with the virus. So I said, what happened? She said, well, it's your brother. He's been vomiting blood. I said, oh, Lord, I'm finished.

BURRESS: It turned out to be an ulcer, not Ebola. But Amelia says it was enough of a scare that she had to do something to help her fellow Liberians.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: One, two, three, four.

(SINGING)

BURRESS: That's why she's here singing the Liberian national anthem alongside more than 100 fellow immigrants. They're gathered at the Liberian Association of Metro Atlanta's offices. They have lots of questions like...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ebola is from monkey. How did the animal get Ebola?

BURRESS: And should people avoid bush meat like monkey and bats? The answer - yes. Ebola is overwhelming some small and remote villages. People don't know what to do with the bodies - keep them in the home or put them outside?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2: Keeping those dead bodies in the street - is it more safe or is it more dangerous in terms of spread the virus?

BURRESS: It's more dangerous to keep the bodies in public places, Craig Manning tells them. He's a health communication specialist with the CDC.

CRAIG MANNING: We're leaving no stone unturned in the sense of trying to reach out.

BURRESS: The night's message - tell your loved ones what Ebola is, what it isn't, how it's spread and how to avoid exposure. And Manning says do it by cell phone. Mobile phones are everywhere in Liberia, even in places where electricity and water are scarce.

MANNING: So we can move information through these channels, perhaps even more effectively than we could do it through social mobilization programs in-country.

BURRESS: Because of strong tries immigrants keep with their loved ones, Manning says reaching Liberians in West Africa very much involves reaching Liberians in America. For NPR News, I'm Jim Burress in Atlanta.

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