Ebola isolation clinic looted in Liberia, patients flee

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Ebola Isolation Clinic Looted, Up To 20 Patients Flee

Of all the places to loot, an Ebola isolation clinic probably isn't the best place.

Armed protestors stormed an Ebola clinic in Liberia's capital Saturday stealing blood-stained bedding and forcing as many as 20 infected patients to flee into the city's tightly packed West Point township.

According to the United Nation's Integrated Regional Information Networks, or IRIN, the West Point "shantytown" has about 70,000 residents and suffers from debilitating sanitary conditions. The population has access to only four public toilets, meaning street defecation is commonplace.

Ebola isolation clinic looted in Liberia, patients flee
The body of a man found in the street, suspected of dying from the ebola virus is covered and removed by health workers, in the capital city of Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. The World Health Organization declared it’s ethical to use untested drugs and vaccines in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa although the tiny supply of one experimental drug handed out to three people has been depleted and it could be many months until more is available. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberia women walk, after praying for help with the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberia women sing after praying for help with the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberian women pray for people infected with the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberia policemen, dressed in riot gear talk to locals blocking a main road, as they watch health workers deal with the body of a man suspected of dying from the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
People wash their hands with disinfectant as a preventative measure against the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberian policemen, right, dressed in riot gear disperse a crowd of people that blocked a main road after the body of someone suspected of dying from the Ebola virus was not removed by health workers in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said three or four people would begin getting it Thursday. The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would. These are the last known doses of ZMapp left in the world. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Liberian policemen, right, dressed in riot gear disperse a crowd of people that blocked a main road after the body of someone suspected of dying from the Ebola virus was not removed by health workers in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberia faced an excruciating choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove either life-saving or life-threatening. ZMapp, the untested Ebola drug, arrived in the West African country late Wednesday. Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said three or four people would begin getting it Thursday. The government had previously said two doctors would receive the treatment, but it was unclear who else would. These are the last known doses of ZMapp left in the world. The San Diego-based company that developed it has said it will take months to build up even a modest supply. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, nurses dealing with patients await the arrival of Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as she tours areas to call on health workers not to leave there post as fear of the Ebola virus spread through the city of Monrovia, Liberia. The World Health Organization declared it’s ethical to use untested drugs and vaccines in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa although the tiny supply of one experimental drug handed out to three people has been depleted and it could be many months until more is available. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
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There are now fears that with West Point's dense neighborhoods, poor sanitary conditions, and the Ebola patients now on the loose it could make fighting Liberia's already serious Ebola outbreak even more complex.

A senior Liberia police official told the BBC: "This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life" and that the looting of blood-stained mattresses and bedding could spread the virus to all of West Point.

Sky News reports: West Point residents were already upset that Ebola patients were being brought from other parts of the capital to the isolation clinic in their township. The protestors were reportedly shouting that Ebola was a scam created by the Liberian president for money.

The assistant health minister said Thursday there are plans to quarantine West Point, but first food and supplies must be brought into the township, according to Front Page Africa.

While West Point wouldn't be the first place to be quarantined by the Liberian government, it might be the largest if the health ministry does decide to quarantine the area.

The West Point clinic looting came the same day the Kenyan government announced a travel ban on West African countries afflicted with the deadly Ebola virus.

Kenya Airways, which is owned by the Kenyan government, announced that flights going to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone will be suspended starting Tuesday at midnight.

Nonetheless, the World Health Organization, or WHO, reiterated that the spread of Ebola through air travel is very low and has advised against travel bans.

According to the WHO, more than 400 people have died in Liberia from Ebola and more than 1,100 in total between Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Related:
World Health Organization Ebola Guidelines
Ebola Prevention
What is Ebola?
What are they symptoms of Ebola?
Who is at risk of Ebola?
Flight Cancellations Due to Ebola
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