Local Liberians fear Ebola stereotypes

This photo was provided by the CDC (AP Photo/CDC)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Ebola crisis in West Africa has now ballooned to 10,000 cases, and while the virus has not been detected in Rhode Island, it is still having an impact on those with ties to Africa.

The Rhode Island Department of Health tells Eyewitness News it has been in contact with seven people who recently returned to the state from West Africa. Officials say none of them are showing symptoms of Ebola, but they will continue to monitor their conditions.

Meanwhile, local leaders in the Liberian community say they’re being stigmatized over the disease.

“Stereotyping is becoming a problem, I got two calls from people last night where people are stereotyped on their job. We need protection,” Winston Gould, president of the Liberian Community of Rhode Island said. “They did not create Ebola, so they should not be stereotyped about the outbreak of Ebola, and people coming from Liberia and coming into homes. They shouldn’t hold them responsible.”

Gould says he is reaching out to lawmakers to help protects local Liberians from harassment.

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