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Team USA cancels Africa trip over Ebola concerns

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Aug 15 2014 02:29:15 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 15 2014 02:15:35 PM CDT
closeup of basketball seams, ball

Jason Antony/SXC

USA Basketball canceled a scheduled trip to Senegal due to concerns over the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

The team planned to visit Senegal before the FIBA World Cup later this month.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN.com on Friday that the World Health Organization's declaration of a "public health emergency of international concern" in the region caused the team to cancel its plans.

"I speak for all at USA Basketball when I say we're extremely disappointed we will not be able to visit Senegal," Colangelo said. "Our entire traveling party was very much looking forward to the experience."

The team, including Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, was scheduled to visit Africa on Aug. 27 for basketball clinics, tours and receptions in the Senegalese capital of Dakar.

More than 1,000 deaths attributed to Ebola have been recorded since March in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. Two American aid workers infected with the virus while working in West Africa were sent to a containment unit in Atlanta's Center for Disease Control for treatment.

"The circumstances just don't allow us to go," Colangelo said.

The New York Times reported Friday that the State Department ordered family members of staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to leave the country.

"Although the CDC does not yet suspect any (Ebola) cases in Senegal, the country's position as a neighboring country to Guinea and Dakar's role as a gateway to West Africa heightened our concern," Colangelo said.

"We remain committed to fostering basketball worldwide and in Africa and Senegal in particular and we are committed to look at further opportunities in the future to work with and support the Senegalese national team."

Team USA opens World Cup play against Finland in Bilbao, Spain, on Aug. 30.

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