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US officials recruit Dikembe Mutombo for Ebola messages

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U.S. health officials are turning to a retired basketball star to help battle one of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history. Dikembe Mutombo recorded radio and video spots designed to persuade people to take precautions and get care that might stop the disease's spread. Mutombo is regarded as one of the greatest defensive players in NBA history and a well-known philanthropist in his native Congo.

By MIKE STOBBE

AP Medical Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are turning to basketball hall of famer Dikembe Mutombo for help in one of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history.

Mutombo is regarded as one of the greatest defensive players in NBA history and is a well-known philanthropist in his native Congo. He recorded radio and video spots designed to persuade people to take precautions and get care that might stop the disease's spread.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began posting the spots Monday. Officials are trying to get radio and TV stations in the Democratic Republic of Congo to air them.

About 2,100 people have been reported ill — and nearly 1,500 have died — since an Ebola outbreak was declared in August in eastern Congo.

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