The deadly Ebola virus is also a fear generator. When you see a man driven by the fear of impending death, pushed along by desperation, and people equally fearful of that man surrounding and threatening him but keeping their distance, you are witnessing raw human survival instincts coming from two distinct sources. Reuters posted a raw video Sept. 2 that showed examples of each: an escaped quarantine patient, hungry and loose in the streets of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, and a fearful populace, frustrated at the inability of the healthcare workers at keeping the Ebola patients quarantined and away from the general public.
In the video, the man, who is dressed in a long red shirt and carries a staff (for protection, most likely), is seen walking warily ahead of a growing crowd of people that appear to be harassing him in a marketplace. He appears to be eating something. Before long, health workers show up in hazmat suits (except for this one bearded white gentleman who deals with those around him protected by nothing) and talk with the escapee. The video cuts to images of the man, struggling, being forcefully tossed into a truck, the vehicle then speeding away. The crowd is heard cheering the capture.
But at one point in the video, one man shows open anger at the Liberian government. "We told the Liberian government from the beginning, we do not want an Ebola camp here," the man says in the video. "Today marks the fifth Ebola patient coming outside vomiting and toileting."
The Ebola virus, a deadly pathogen that, once contracted, has been found to be fatal in at least 50 percent of known cases, is taking its toll on several West African nations at present. Liberia is at the forefront of what is now the largest Ebola epidemic on record, having recorded the second-most number of deaths due to the hemorrhagic fever.
The Reuters video is a prime example of what those trying to combat the virus have to face. The man in the video, as the one witness attested, is not the first. In fact, individuals have been liberated from quarantine houses, hospitals, and centers for weeks. Ignorance and fear prompt many of the locals to blame the doctors and health care workers for their predicament. In some cases, healthcare facilities have been attacked, overrun, and medical supplies taken in addition to the infected patients being freed from quarantine.
With each escape, the spread of the contagion becomes a concern. Ebola virus is transmitted through the bodily fluids of an infected individual. The virus lives on in the dead for some time, allowing transmission of the disease through the handling of dead bodies.
The disease was discovered in a patient in Senegal this week as well, indicating that the Ebola epidemic has now spread to a fifth nation, the other four being the aforementioned Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. And while the World Health Organization called the spreading virus a "global threat," the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tom Frieden said earlier in the week that a strong, concerted international response was needed to contain and curtail an epidemic that is "spiraling out of control" in West Africa.
Thus far, according to the World Health Organization's latest update (Sept. 4), there have been 1,848 people killed by the Ebola virus in four nations. There have been a total of 3,707 confirmed cases of Ebola in those same countries and Senegal.