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Artistes urged to be Ebola alert

By Richard Johnson Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, August 30, 2014    

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ENTERTAINMENT industry publicist Olimatta Taal is advising local entertainers to make themselves aware of the presence of the Ebola virus in some sections of Africa before venturing on tours of the continent.

Her call supports a warning issued by the local Ministry of Health to members of the entertainment fraternity, who frequent the African continent on tours to promote, particularly their music.

Taal, who has roots in The Gambia and was raised in the United States, has served as a liaison between concert promoters and tour organisers to facilitate local reggae acts entering the African market.

She notes that it is up to everyone to make themselves aware of what it happening in sections of Africa as it relates to Ebola.

"Ebola is a very serious matter and something that everyone should make themselves aware of, it is not a matter to be taken lightly, it is a scary situation," she said.

"I would say to all entertainers, give yourself the next six months to observe what is happening, do your own research and then make a move," she continued.

Taal is, however, concerned about the timing of the latest outbreak of Ebola in Africa.

"I don't want to be seen as a conspiracy theorist, but am concerned about how this latest Ebola outbreak comes at a time when significant strides are being made in building bridges between Africa and the Diaspora whether through music, trade or education. It is as thought there is a strategic attempt to destroy Africa... it feels like biological warfare, and that's why I encourage my music family to do their own research and see what's going on," said Taal.

The World Health Organisation has declared Ebola a public health emergency of international concern. Since its most recent outbreak in Guinea in December, more than 1,300 persons have died from the virus which is transmitted through direct contact with blood, other bodily fluids such as stool, saliva, urine and semen of infected persons.

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