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17 who fled Liberia Ebola clinic still missing


MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Authorities were searching Monday for more than a dozen patients who abandoned an Ebola quarantine center in Liberia's capital during looting this weekend, although several were again under observation, officials said.

Late Saturday, residents of Monrovia's West Point slum attacked a quarantine center, where people were being monitored for possible infection with Ebola. The residents were angry that patients were brought to the holding center from other parts of Monrovia. In the wake of the violence, police were deployed outside at least one Ebola treatment center in Monrovia on Monday.

During the raid, 37 patients who might have Ebola left, many returning to their own communities, said government Information Minister Lewis Brown. So far, 20 have been brought back to two hospitals in the capital and authorities are still looking for the others, he said.

None of those who fled had been confirmed to have Ebola, and the process of screening them is continuing, Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said.

Some Who Fled Liberia Ebola Clinic Re-Hospitalized

Police said the looters stole bloody sheets and mattresses, which could carry the Ebola virus, which could fuel the spread of Ebola in a slum where at least 50,000 people live.

Authorities have struggled to contain the spread of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Brown called the break-in at the holding center the "greatest setback" so far. The disease has killed 1,145 of the more than 2,000 people sickened in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, and there is no licensed treatment. The only way to contain the disease is to isolate the sick and closely watch those they have come into contact with for signs of infection.

Authorities have been forced to counter several misconceptions about the disease, including rumors of false cures, fears that the Western doctors sent to treat the sick were the source of infection and a lack of understanding about how it is spread. Initially, authorities said many sick people were hiding their symptoms and avoiding hospitals. But more recently, people have seemed more willing to go to health centers. In fact, many centers have struggled to keep up with the influx.

"It's important to understand here that most of the people that went into this holding facility came there voluntarily," said Brown. "They were forcibly removed by vandals and looters, not because they wanted to leave, so we are sure that they will return."

He said authorities were hoping to reopen the West Point holding center again, but it was closed for the time being.

Authorities have also been trying to combat misunderstanding in the international community. Several airlines, including British Airways, Kenya Airways and regional carriers, have canceled flights to the region, despite the World Health Organization's recommendation that no travel or trade bans be put in place.

Last month, a Liberian-American man infected with Ebola boarded a flight from Liberia to Nigeria and died days later; 11 people who came into contact with him have been infected.

Still, the International Air Transport Association cited the U.N. health agency's advice and urged airlines on Monday to maintain service to countries affected by the disease.

WHO has said the risk of Ebola being spread through air travel is unlikely. Instead, it is urging countries with Ebola to screen anyone leaving the country - whether by air, sea or land - for fever and other symptoms of the disease. People with Ebola-like symptoms should not travel, except as part of a medical evacuation, it said.

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fishhead80 August 19 2014 at 5:14 AM

Close our borders NOW!!!!!!!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Marven Gardens August 18 2014 at 11:53 PM

Christian missionaries who go to these African nations and contract ebola, and other contagious diseases, should never be allowed to return to North America.

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Jon August 18 2014 at 9:21 PM

"Hey honey, I heard on the news that there is like this virus in Afrika killing all these people; but they say it won't ever reach... uh...uh... honey is American Idol on tonight? I was just thinking that tonight might be American Idol night and I don't want to miss American Idol..."

Flag Reply +2 rate up
lindamermaid August 18 2014 at 1:15 PM

An infected man got on a flight and 11 people who came into contact with him have been infected. How did THAT happen? If ebola is only spread by blood to blood contact, how is that possible? Did he share a needle with 11 people? And the CDC wonders why we don't believe their assurances that this won't become a worldwide epidemic.

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2 replies
Jon lindamermaid August 18 2014 at 9:24 PM

No, it is an airborne virus and not withstanding that fact, he was likely sweating profusely and coughing; touching things, etc.!

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roseyoungstewart lindamermaid August 18 2014 at 10:52 PM

no please read and remember all bodily fluids can be infectious, snot, sweat, feces, urine, ear wax. spit, pus, any type of sexually transmitted disease with discharge. got it now? ok.

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Jeb August 18 2014 at 5:19 PM

Check the streets of Ferguson ...

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jacks_sam August 18 2014 at 1:23 PM

Another example of what inferior races do. A natural lack of intelligence to know what is good and what is bad. We see it here every day as well like looters in Ferguson destroying their own peoples businesses. You can't fix stupid.

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1 reply
roseyoungstewart jacks_sam August 18 2014 at 10:57 PM

there has been only one 7-11 burned to the ground nothing else. so shut up.

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elliotu August 18 2014 at 2:44 PM

terrorists could get this material and cause epidemics all over the world

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Jon August 18 2014 at 9:16 PM

Wait until the tropical waves start to roll off the west coast of Africa and bring all that virus airborne into the atmosphere possibly to rain-down on the US as tropical storms/hurricanes!

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1 reply
roseyoungstewart Jon August 18 2014 at 10:56 PM

air circulates except inside of a plane we have the atmosphere the ionosphere the stratosphere .. the air is always changing & virus do not live very long unless there is a host on which to live. go back to the fifth grade.

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1 reply
Jon roseyoungstewart August 18 2014 at 11:34 PM

This virus has been found to survive quite a while without a host, unlike HIV for instance. Has nothing to do with needing to "go back to school", a theory is a theory! Look at the woman who was several states away died when the Anthrax broke out back in 2001-2002. The official theory given was that wind currents carried one (1) spore several hundred miles south... just happened to survive all the levels of "-SPHERES" you claim are impediments...
Go back to sleep, your government is in control, you are free to do exactly what we tell you, go back to sleep!

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martin3571 August 18 2014 at 1:54 PM

Are they sure the stuff was not taken to be used in a terror attack?

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1 reply
spdy65 martin3571 August 19 2014 at 2:17 AM

If it were and they knew it, do you really think they would admit and tell us??

Flag Reply 0 rate up
balaland August 18 2014 at 1:36 PM

First it's 70,000, now it's 50,000 residents in west point , 24 patients , now 37 with 20 still missing, can't rely on this kind of reporting....Don't commit to numbers if you can not establish them as factual ....

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