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Two African Middle-School Boys Beaten in the Bronx and Called ‘Ebola’ by Attackers

Boys join father at news conference
Boys join father at news conference

With all the Ebola fear and misinformation coursing through the nation, unfortunately this might have been inevitable: Two middle-school-aged brothers who recently immigrated to the Bronx from the West African nation of Senegal were beaten and severely injured Friday afternoon by other students who called them “Ebola.”

The incident occurred at IS 318 in the Tremont section and was made public by the African Advocacy Council. The boys, in sixth and eighth grade, were taken to the hospital after the attack. They have only been in the U.S. for about a month.

“They call me from the school tell me come, they’re beating your children,” the boys’ father, Ousmane Drame, told NY1. “I rush, go there my children was very hurt, headached, he was crying, laying on the floor, more than 10 children on top of him, beating him.”

Charles Cooper of the African Advisory Council told the station, “And all they want to do is be kids. They want to play like kids, they want to learn like kids. They go to school and they’ve been bullied over and over to the point in which it led to this situation in which they were brutally injured.”

According to published reports, the New York City Department of Education is planning this week to send a letter home with all students to educate them about Ebola, now that the city has its first confirmed case. Senegal, the home country of the two boys, isn’t even one of the nations hit by the Ebola crisis — they are Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. 

The Department of Education also said it has sent additional security to the boys’ school, but there’s no words about what will happen to the bullies who injured the boys.

With word of the Bronx attack also came news that a 5-year-old Bronx boy is being tested for Ebola after developing a fever following a trip to West Africa. The boy returned from Guinea with his family 36 hours ago and was transported to Bellevue Hospital Center from the family’s home Sunday night. Test results are expected by the end of the day.

Dr. Craig Spencer, the physician being treated for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital, was showing signs of improvement this week, according to doctors, though he had entered the next phase of the illness: the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms. To fight those symptoms, he received a plasma transfusion from the second American Ebola patient Nancy Writebol on Saturday, which he tolerated well, according to Health and Hospitals Corp. President Dr. Ram Raju.

“People tend to get worse before they get better,” said Dr. Mary Bassett, the commissioner of the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “So he remains in stable condition, but we are aware that this is the natural course of this disease.”

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