Liberian community in Staten Island educates others about the virus

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STATEN ISLAND (PIX11)-- The news of a second Dallas nurse being diagnosed with Ebola has only enhanced concerns of a potential outbreak nationwide. Proactive measures are already being taken in the city at JFK as well as local hospitals.

The Department of Health has also been handing out literature to better understand the virus.

"We really do need to dispel some of the unwarranted fears," said Councilwoman Debbi Rose on the steps of Borough Hall on Staten Island.

The councilwoman along with others held a news conference to do just that.

"We've had protocols in place to identify patients," said Dr. Charu Sabharwal who also was in attendance.

Dr. Charu Sabharwal, who is with the city's Incident Command System Leadership for Ebola preparedness at the Department of Health and Mental hygiene, also added that they've been preparing for a few months.

"We've been actively working, our bureau of communal diseases has been actively working since the beginning of August," she said.

It is a group that she says is ready to assist in all areas, should the city be presented with a positive diagnosis, "The group is involved in all portions of what would go on with the Ebola response. It starts at policy level all the way down to contact tracing. So from everything in-between as well."

Telee Brown is a member of the Liberian community on Staten Island, "When they notice my accent they ask me, 'Are you from Liberia?' I say yes. 'And did you just come?' I say no!"

Brown, a 15-year-resident is the past President of the Liberian Association on Staten Island. The Liberian community on Staten Island is one of the largest outside of West Africa.

In fact, it known as "Little Liberia," and while the Ebola crisis is thousands of miles away in their homeland its impact is being felt deeply here in the community's new home, "Friends and relatives are dying everyday. It makes us very much anxious to want to see how this can come to an end."

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