Richmond Liberians fear backlash as Ebola anxiety grows

Posted at 11:20 PM, Oct 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-12 23:20:08-04

RICHMOND, Va.  -- As news of a second person in Texas infected with the Ebola virus makes waves in the United States, local West Africans  gathered in Richmond Sunday afternoon to discuss what happens next.

"This is personal to me - I lost my Uncle to Ebola," Othello Dixon, a native Liberian, said.

Catherine Macintosh Badley, also  from Liberia, said she knows a Richmond man who has lost ten loved ones back in his home country.

Both Dixon and Badley attended the African Community Network's Ebola forum in downtown Richmond.

"We know how this disease progresses the question is why can we do at this point?" Virginia Department of Health  Epidemiologist Okey Utah said.

Utah cautioned travel in the region, but emphasized that the disease is not airborne. Utah pointed out that the disease is only spread via bodily fluids only after someone has developed symptoms -- and it can take weeks before Ebola symptoms can appear.

While some in attendance voiced frustration at why the U.S. is not doing more in their native land, others feared potential backlash in the United States if the disease continues to spread.

Attendees told CBS 6 they do not want their children treated any differently in schools, at airports, or in hospitals.

"What are we going to to about stigmatization?" Dixon asked CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George.