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  • Liberia desperately searches for patients

    Author: AAP

Liberian officials are continuing to search for 17 Ebola patients who fled an attack on a quarantine centre in the capital Monrovia.

Liberian officials are continuing to search for 17 Ebola patients who fled an attack on a quarantine centre in the capital Monrovia, raising fears they could spread the deadly disease.

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"We have not yet found them," Information Minister Lewis Brown said on Monday, adding that "those who looted the place took away mattresses and bedding that were soaked with fluids from the patients."

On Saturday youths wielding clubs and knives raided the medical facility set up in a high school in the dense-populated West Point slum, some shouting "there's no Ebola", echoing wild rumours that the epidemic has been made up by the West to oppress Africans.

Authorities are now considering sealing off the area, home to around 75,000 people, although some reports suggest the infected patients may have already fled West Point.

"All those hooligans who looted the centre are all now probable carriers of the disease," said Brown, the spokesman for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

"To quarantine the area could be one of the solutions. We run the risk of facing a difficult to control situation," he warned.

The proposal follows reports Liberia's armed forces have been given orders to shoot people trying to illegally cross the border from neighbouring Sierra Leone, which was closed weeks ago to stem the spread of Ebola.

Soldiers stationed in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties, which border Sierra Leone, were to "shoot on sight" any person trying to cross the border, said deputy chief of staff, Colonel Eric Dennis, according to local newspaper the Daily Observer on Monday.

Ebola has killed at least 1145 people in west Africa since the start of the year. There is no known cure for the haemorrhagic fever, which can be spread through bodily fluids including blood and sweat.

The head of the Health Workers Association of Liberia, George Williams, said the Monrovia unit had housed 29 patients who "had all tested positive for Ebola" and were receiving preliminary treatment before being taken to hospital.

"Of the 29 patients, 17 fled (after the assault)," Williams said on Sunday.

"Nine died four days ago and three others were yesterday taken by force by their relatives" from the centre.

Copyright AAP 2014.


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