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Ebola fears rise as Liberian clinic is attacked and looted

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Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

As patients were being treated for Ebola in a quarantined clinic of Monrovia, Liberia, citizens from the surrounding neighborhoods stormed the facility while at least 30 patients, and other clinic workers, fled the grounds this past Saturday.

Looters stole mattresses, bloodstained sheets, and other medical equipment from the quarantined clinic.  These supplies, which could potentially be infected with the Ebola virus, were then carried to the surrounding neighborhoods where some 50,000 people live.

According to CNN, the assailants had no desire to free patients from the facility, rather, the citizens who stormed and looted the facility did not want the clinic there in the first place.

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Yahoo News is also reporting the people who attacked the clinic were armed with clubs, and while they stormed the clinic shouted “there’s no Ebola.”

Liberian National Police spokesman Sam Collins also told CNN on Sunday, “It was an attack from people afraid of Ebola… Everybody is afraid.”

According to the Washington Post, the area surrounding the clinic is known as the West Point slum.  Residents of the slum were angry at how infected individuals from all over Monrovia were being brought to the clinic in the destitute area.

The virus has killed approximately 1,145, and infected some 2,000 in the surrounding nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Liberia.  However, the Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown has called the raid on the facility, according to ABC News, the “greatest setback” of the campaign to stop the virus.

The virus  is known to spread through the exchange of bodily fluids, and while medical authorities are trying to spread this knowledge throughout the area, many misconceptions are still prevalent in communities.  One of the most prevalent fallacies about the virus is that doctors from the West, who are supposed to be treating the virus, are responsible for spreading it.

While the virus is spreading at a slow rate, the World Health Organization has recommended no restrictions be put on trade items or travel to or from the infected countries.  Instead, WHO urges infected countries to screen people who are leaving their country for the virus, but the spread of the disease through airline travel is unlikely.  WHO is also recommending people who are known to be infected not to travel at all.

The clinic has yet to reopen and police have since restored order to the area.

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