MONROVIA, Liberia - Armed men attacked an Ebola clinic in Monrovia, local witnesses told Agence France Presse.
As many as 29 potentially Ebola-infected patients fled, the news agency reported.
"They broke down the doors and looted the place. The patients all fled," said Rebecca Wesseh, who witnessed the attack and whose report was confirmed by residents and the head of Health Workers Association of Liberian, George Williams.
The attack comes just one day after a report of a crowd of several hundred local residents, chanting, 'No Ebola in West Point,' drove away a burial team and their police escort that had come to collect the bodies of suspected Ebola victims in a slum in the capital, Reuters reports. The mob then forced open an Ebola isolation ward and took several patients out, many saying that the Ebola epidemic is a hoax.
The isolation center, a closed primary school originally built by USAID, was being used by the Liberian health ministry to temporarily isolate people suspected of carrying the virus, Reuters reports. Some 10 patients had "escaped" the building the night before, according to a nurse, as the center had no medicine to treat them.
While the armed attack is likely the most brazen attack on health workers trying to contain the deadly outbreak, it is far from the first in the region worst-hit by it.
India, Spain Testing Suspected Ebola Patients; Liberian Quarantine Center Raided
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/17/2014 12:09 -0400
While the Ebola outbreak in west Africa has long since left the "under control" stage, things are about to go from worse to inconceivable for the poverty stricken African nations, after Liberian officials said they Ebola could soon spread through the capital's largest slum after residents raided a quarantine center for suspected patients and took items including blood-stained sheets and mattresses.
According to AP, the violence in the West Point slum occurred late Saturday and was led by residents angry that patients were brought from other parts of the capital to the holding center. It was not immediately clear how many patients had been at the center. West Point residents went on a "looting spree," stealing items from the clinic that were likely infected, said a senior police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the press. The residents took mattresses, sheets and blankets that had bloodstains, which could spread the infection.
It goes without saying that if and when Ebola strikes the heart of one of the poorest ghettos in Africa, then there is no model that can predict just how far and wide the disease could spread.
And speaking of spreading, what many have feared may have come to pass after Spain announced it was investigating a suspected case of Ebola after a Nigerian man presented symptoms of the virus at a hospital in Alicante several days after flying in from the West African country.
The Telegraph reports:
The man, who has not been named but is said to be in his 30s, was admitted into San Joan hospital in Alicante on Saturday evening where he was being treated in an isolation unit.Hospital sources confirmed he was suffering a fever of 38.3 degrees Celsius (100.9F) as well as "other symptoms associated with Ebola - including physical discomfort, vomiting and bleeding".The patient told doctors that he had arrived in Spain from Nigeria "a few days ago".Hospital authorities said they had "activated protocol" to deal with the infectious disease while they awaited test results.
But even that is nothing compared to what may transpire if what theTimes of India reported moments ago, turns out to be accurate:three persons from Ebola-affected Nigeria, who arrived here Saturday morning, have been admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for screening and treatment if required. The three Nigerians, aged 79, 37 and 4 years had fever and their tests were being done at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi, an official release said here.
In addition to this, a 32-year-old Indian from Durg in Chhattisgarh who returned from Nigeria has been admitted to a hospital in Bhilai. His samples are also being tested at NCDC, the release said. WHO has said air travel, even from Ebola-affected countries, is low-risk for transmission of the disease. WHO has reported a total of 2,127 cases and 1,145 deaths due to Ebola from affected countries.
India is the second most populous country in the world with a population of over 1.2 billion.