Liberian Ebola clinic attacked by mob, 29 patients have fled

An armed gang of men attacked an Ebola isolation center.

They are angry that the government opened the quarantine center in their neighborhood. Some refuse to believe that there is an Ebola outbreak or that the virus is a threat to residents.

The news came as Kenya closed its borders to travelers from the west African countries affected by the recent Ebola outbreak.

At the same time, the World Health Organization says that “staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”

Symptoms of Ebola, by Mikael Häggström.

Symptoms of Ebola, by Mikael Häggström.

The group of men was armed with clubs, some are reported to have had guns. They broke into the clinic and trashed it. Some of them reportedly stole supplies and equipment.

Among the stolen items were blood-stained mattresses and sheets. Officials are afraid that these items could spread Ebola. Several of the clinic patients fled the clinic during the attack and have not been found.

Also, during the attack, some relatives of a few of the quarantined patients stormed in and abducted their family members. Police were called to chase off the gang. About 29 patients who may be infected with Ebola are unaccounted for and have presumably fled.

Previous to this attack, another group had attacked a party of men who were out to bury Ebola victims. Police arrived and shots were fired to disburse the group interfering with the burial team.

These aren’t the first incidents in the area. Over the past few weeks there have been protests and shouting matches, and rocks have been thrown at healthcare workers. A group of rioters were chased away from a hospital. Some clinics were also attacked.

Some residents in the area do not want Ebola patients or corpses anywhere in their vicinity. While others think that healthcare workers are deliberately spreading Ebola among those that they are treating.


Mark Thoma, MD, is a physician who did his residency in internal medicine. Mark has a long history of social activism, and was an early technogeek, and science junkie, after evolving through his nerd phase. Favorite quote: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science... is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny.'” - Isaac Asimov

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  • stephaniejmota

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  • ShineOn

    LOL!

  • ShineOn

    Dogma is dogma, and ignorance is ignorance.

  • ShineOn

    I’m despairing right beside you.

  • ShineOn

    This is bad. The worst things for the human race are ignorance, denial, dogma and religion.

  • MJ

    Forget it Jake…it’s Africa.

  • Bill_Perdue

    This reminds me of several incidents in LA during the beginning plague years there when people were forced out of their apartments and jobs and a potential home for people with AIDS was stalled by the efforts of neighbor. The WH and Congress were silent on the subject for the better part of a decade while people died by the thousands.

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  • Bookbinder

    OMFG.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    That’s just the thing: ‘Knowingly.’ Apparently quite a few simply do not believe there is such a disease as Ebola, or that it can be caught by being exposed to the blood and other fluids from the sick and the dead.

    One insane conspiracy theory is the disease is being faked, so that western doctors can harvest the organs of the recently deceased. Still another has it that Africans are being experimented upon.

    Permission to despair, granted.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Lo, Jesus went up on the mount, and there, surrounded by his followers, he gave the following sermon: BEENNNGGGGHHHHHAAAAAAZZZZZZZIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!

  • Thom Allen

    I thought of exactly the same thing. Not only did the radical evangelical christianists teach them to want to kill gays, they taught them to implicitly believe totally implausible rumors just as they do, too.

  • Hue-Man

    When I commented previously on the difficulties encountered in accessing and sterilizing medical equipment, I could not have imagined that people would knowingly expose themselves to Ebola contaminated equipment and materials. Worse, this didn’t happen in some remote hamlet, it’s Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, pop. nearly 1 million.

    Permission to despair?

  • ComradeRutherford

    Wow, those folks are almost as willfully ignorant as US Conservatives!

  • JoeMelrose

    This is bad, real bad. Thanks for your work reporting this, Joe.

    For those who don’t read Spanish, the news coming out of Spain on this story is mostly positive for now. The young Nigerian man who was hospitalized, who it was feared might have been exposed to Ebola, has tested negative. But the stunt that the Moroccan border patrol pulled last week does not bode well for the future.

  • Indigo

    That’s horrifying! Ignorance is a real killer.

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