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Minnesotans feel shockwaves of Ebola threat; health officials say not to worry

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Concerns about the Ebola virus led to a drop in business for Mama-Ti's African Kitchen in Brooklyn Park – and the owner tells KSTP she might have to shut the business down.

According to the station, owner Kellita Whisnant says customers are worried they might contract the Ebola virus from eating at the Liberian restaurant. And that's led to fewer customers coming through the doors.

KSTP spoke with a Department of Health official who said there's virtually no chance of picking up Ebola from eating the food there, since many ingredients can't transmit the virus and Whisnant's meat is locally sourced.

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More state officials echoed that call for calm at a meeting Sunday.

The Star Tribune reports reports Health Department members met with community members in hopes of quelling fears about Ebola spreading in Minnesota, while also addressing the "stigma, the fear and the misinformation" about the disease, as MDH refugee health nurse consultant Ellen Frerich put it.

Late last week, ABC News reported the death toll from Ebola in West Africa reached the 2,400 mark. In all, the virus has infected at least 4,800 people across Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

There are an estimated 30,000 people of Liberian descent living in Minnesota.

At Sunday's meeting at Elim Lutheran Church in Robbinsdale, the Star Tribune says officials reiterated to concerned community members that the virus can not be transmitted through goods, nor can it be transmitted through the air from person to person.

President sending military personnel to West Africa

With the outbreak still devastating the West Africa region, President Barack Obama is expected to send additional manpower to the area, in an effort to combat the virus, Fox News reports.

Fox News says Obama will announce today up to 3,000 military personnel will travel to West Africa. In addition, the U.S. will provide additional facilities and logistical support, including:

  • The training of up to 500 health care workers every week.
  • The construction of at least 17 new health care sites with about 100 beds apiece.
  • The distribution of tens of thousands of home care kits.
  • The creation of a joint command center in Liberia for international coordination efforts.
  • The training of local populations to handle infected Ebola patients.

The New York Times reports Obama will reach out to Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

USA Today says the plan will require an additional $588 million in spending. The administration is asking Congress for $88 million; the Department of Defense has requested the other $500 million. That's on top of the $175 million already put toward battling the virus.

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