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Liberia president declares Ebola curfew

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

By JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Liberia's president declared a curfew and ordered security forces to quarantine a slum home to at least 50,000 people late Tuesday as the West African country battled to stop the spread of Ebola in the capital.

The measures came as authorities said that three health workers in the country who received an experimental drug for the disease are showing signs of recovery, though medical experts caution it is not certain if the drug is effective.

At least 1,229 people have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the current outbreak, and more than 2,240 have been sickened, according to the World Health Organization. The fastest rising number of cases has been reported in Liberia, with at least 466 dead.

Authorities here have struggled to treat and isolate the sick, in part because of widespread fear that treatment centers are places where people go to die. Many sick people have hidden in their homes, relatives have sometimes taken their loved ones away from health centers, and mobs have occasionally attacked health workers.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced late Tuesday that a curfew is going into place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Security forces also will be ensuring no one goes in or out of West Point, a slum in the capital where angry residents attacked an Ebola observation center over the weekend.

"We have been unable to control the spread due to continued denials, cultural burying practices, disregard for the advice of health workers and disrespect for the warnings by the government," she said. "As a result and due to the large population concentration the disease has spread widely in Monrovia and environs."

"May God bless us all and save the state," she later added.

Saturday's attack on the observation center in West Point was triggered by fears that people with the disease were being brought there from all over the country, the Information Ministry said Tuesday. Dozens of people waiting to be screened for Ebola fled the center during the chaos. Looters made off with items, including bloody sheets and mattresses that could further spread the virus.

All the patients who fled are now being screened at a hospital in Monrovia, and those who tested positive are being treated, the ministry said. It was unclear how many of the 37 who fled were confirmed with Ebola.

Liberian authorities also are searching for a pastor who ran away from a different Ebola treatment center outside Monrovia. State radio asked the public to look out for the preacher but did not say whether he had tested positive for Ebola.

Three Liberians are currently being treated with the last known doses of ZMapp, a drug that had earlier been given to two infected Americans and a Spaniard. The Americans are also improving, but the Spaniard died.

"The medical professionals have informed the Liberian information ministry their progress is 'remarkable,'" the ministry said in a statement, adding that the patients are showing "very positive signs of recovery."

Experts have said it is unclear if ZMapp, which had never before been tested in humans, is effective. Even if it is, the California-based maker has said more supplies won't be available for months.

In the meantime, experts say the best way to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa is to identify the sick, isolate them from the healthy and monitor everyone with whom they have been in contact.

The WHO said it is seeing some encouraging signs in other parts of West Africa. In Guinea, people from villages that had previously rejected outside help were beginning to seek medical care, according to a WHO statement. The statement said the situation is "less alarming" in Guinea than in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Although the outbreak began in Guinea, Liberia has now recorded the highest number of deaths and Sierra Leone the most cases.

The WHO also said there is "cautious optimism" that the spread of the virus in Nigeria can be stopped. Late Tuesday, health authorities there announced a fifth Ebola death - a doctor who had treated a man who flew to Nigeria from Liberia while infected. So far, all recorded cases have been linked to that man.

"The outbreak is not under control," the WHO cautioned. "As recent experience shows, progress is fragile, with a real risk that the outbreak could experience another flare-up."

To try to stem the spread of Ebola, officials have imposed quarantines and travel restrictions on the sick and those in contact with them, sometimes shutting off entire villages and counties.

Those restrictions are limiting access to food and other necessities, said the WHO. The U.N. World Food Program has said that it is preparing to deliver food to 1 million people over the next three months.

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GUNSLINGER August 20 2014 at 9:27 AM

As the Kenyan allows the "U.S. BORDER INVASION" to continue!

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CHRISTOPHER RAY August 20 2014 at 3:56 AM

We are all at serious risk here. its comeing like a freight train, stock up buy the following a gererator 400.00, weapons 300.00 and ammo, long shelf life food and or canned food, gaskmask 35.00 and protective clothing, have at least 10 five gallon gas cans full and stored and tarped in your back yard also a water purifyer. if this gets out of control you need to have these items to survive once a breakout occurs the shelves in the stores will be bare in 72hrs same gose for the gas stations.. better safe than sorry guys..

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1 reply
cptsujet CHRISTOPHER RAY August 20 2014 at 9:47 AM

The bigger threat here is your illiteracy and the fact that you won't survive if this doesn't happen. Get an education.

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brenhatestwinkie August 20 2014 at 1:56 AM

PRETTY SAD IT'S COME DOWN TO THIS

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fandango017 September 08 2014 at 3:07 PM

this woman toured the world...making speeches/appearances...ad nauseum...when things were great and she was getting accolades and winning "peace prizes". BUT...as the consummate politician...when the going gets tough...she has no courage, no conviction, no backbone. absolutely pathetic...and a true lightweight on many continuums.

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JIM August 20 2014 at 5:42 PM

Is it a shock to anyone else that everywhere they need a curfew, whether it is Africa, or in Missouri, that the rioters and law breakers all look like they could be related to Obama. Maybe this is more proof that this group of people are the lawless animals that everyone makes them out to be. Otherwise, if they obeyed the rules and laws why would we have to impose curfews upon them. Just a thought.

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stengernc August 20 2014 at 11:00 AM

Evolution at work. We have about 2 billion too many people on the planet who never get out of poverty and never will since their is no birth control....so nature will become the birth control. Bring it on.

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balaland August 20 2014 at 10:12 AM

" The meek shall inherit the Earth "...

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kimmer0310 August 20 2014 at 9:34 AM

It's incredibly sad how uneducated the people there are. That ignorance will lead to their demise.

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ectullis August 20 2014 at 8:44 AM

You go ebola

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1 reply
kimmer0310 ectullis August 20 2014 at 9:34 AM

Horrible comment.

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fandango017 September 08 2014 at 3:10 PM

hmm.....how are the african americans going to continue to procreate like rodents in liberia..in ferguson, MO...in chicago...etc...if we keep putting curfews in place???

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