Mayor Nutter Tries to Calm Philly’s Nerves About Ebola

Some West Africans in Philadelphia have reported feeling discriminated against since the Ebola virus hit the United States.

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If you’re reading this article right now on Phillymag.com, you are probably not at risk for catching Ebola. You are likely in the area, and no one in Philadelphia has been diagnosed with the virus. But today Mayor Michael Nutter said Philadelphians are in no danger of contracting the virus right now. And he says Philly is prepared if any cases show up here.

The mayor also urged residents not to discriminate against Philadelphians from West African countries — where the outbreak has killed more than 4,500. Philadelphia has a large West African population living in Southwest Philadelphia.

A report in the Daily News this week said West Africans in Philadelphia were being asked if they had Ebola, and felt discriminated against. “Stop being ignorant,” Liberian immigrant Welleh Taire told the paper.

It’s hard to catch Ebola — it’s only spread though contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person — urine, vomit, feces and saliva. A person doesn’t start to spread infection until they show symptoms.

If anyone thinks they might have Ebola, Nutter said to call 911, not go to a clinic.

Thomas Eric Duncan, 36, died in Dallas earlier this month, the first man in the United States to be killed by Ebola. Mayor Nutter said he had spoken to both President Barack Obama and Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings.

[Inquirer]