RI health officials hold meeting to aid Ebola victims

Dr. Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health says information about Ebola is slow to reach the people of West Africa.

The Rhode Island Department of Health held an informational meeting in Providence on Thursday about how people can help family and friends in West Africa.

Officials met with members of the Liberian community at St. Paul's Church on Elmwood Avenue.

Liberia is one of the four West African countries dealing with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

Health officials say information is either slow to reach people there or they don't trust what the government is saying.

"Imagine what it must be like here in Rhode Island and thinking about people at home in West Africa with borders that are closed, with commercial airlines that are no longer flying, hearing about a disease that's pretty scary, and not knowing who to believe," said Health Director Dr. Michael Fine.

Fine said the key things to pass along to people in West Africa are: trust health workers, wash hands, avoid handling meat from hunted wild animals and to avoid bodily fluids of sick patients.

Fine said an outbreak is unlikely in the U.S. because the country has facilities and staff to treat Ebola rather easily.

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