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Liberia quarantines slum that looted Ebola clinic

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The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone continue to struggle to contain the Ebola outbreaks in their countries. The President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, announced Aug. 19 that there would be a nationwide curfew beginning Aug. 20, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. She also announced that two communities would be quarantined effective at 6 p.m. on Aug. 20, Dolo’s Town and West Point. West Point is the slum where an Ebola clinic was attacked and looted last weekend.

The quarantine of the two communities means that there will be no one permitted in or out. The looting in West Point resulted in equipment, bed linens and other Ebola contaminated materials being taken into the community. Police officials fear that the resulting exposures will increase the number of illnesses significantly. Various media are reporting that there is a widespread belief in these communities that Ebola is an invention of the national government that is being used to oppress the residents.

Through Aug. 16, Liberia has reported 834 Ebola cases to the World Health Organization. Of that number, 466 illnesses have been fatal. The month of August has seen the country report 366 cases, 44 percent of all cases since the outbreak began. August has also seen 211 Ebola deaths in Liberia, 45 percent of the total to date.

AFP is reporting that officials in Sierra Leone are blaming a tribal faith healer for the spread of Ebola into that nation. A woman in the village of Sokoma claimed to be able to heal Ebola. Officials say that many patients from Guinea came to see her, crossing the remote border to do so. Her death from Ebola and the burial rites which were performed passed the illness on to others. WHO has received reports from Sierra Leone of 848 Ebola illnesses and 345 deaths through Aug. 16.

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