The situation in Ebola-affected regions is becoming worse. The hemorrhagic fever continues to rage across West Africa as evidenced by the climbing number of Ebola cases and deaths. Just like in epidemic-themed movies, people start to become violent.
On Saturday, a quarantine center for suspected Ebola patients in Monrovia, Liberia was attacked and looted by residents who were angry because the healthcare facility was put up in the area. Officials fear that the raid could worsen the health situation as residents of West Point, the capital's biggest slum, went on a looting spree.
The attackers stole items from the Ebola center that were likely contaminated including medical equipment, mattresses and bed sheets that were stained with blood, excrement and vomit, which raised concerns as the ebola virus can be contracted when a person gets in contact with an infected individual's body fluids of such as urine, blood and saliva.
"This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life," an unnamed senior police officer said. "All between the houses you could see people fleeing with items looted from the patients."
Making matters worse is that the incident resulted in supposedly quarantined Ebola patients to "mingle" with the crowd. The ebola-infected individuals being treated at the facility also disappeared and did not return raising risks of these patients spreading the highly infectious and fatal virus to others.
Health Workers Association head George Williams said that the isolation center housed 29 individuals who were found positive for Ebola and were being given preliminary treatment before they will be brought to the hospital. Liberia's Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said that after the assault, all of the patients were relocated and readmitted to another Ebola treatment center. Williams, however, said that of the 29 patients, 17 ran away after the assault, nine passed away four days ago and three were forcibly taken away by their families.
Nyenswah said that the attackers, who were reportedly consist mostly of young men armed with clubs, were not happy that patients from other parts of Monrovia were being brought to the isolation center. The residents were not also amenable with the creation of the Ebola isolation center in the area and there apparently is the belief that the Ebola outbreak is a hoax.
"We told them not to (build) their camp here. They didn't listen to us," a young resident said. "We don't believe in this Ebola outbreak."