Ebola-Hit Liberia Runs Out of Body Bags

Country has just 51 doctors for 4.4M people
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2014 2:11 AM CDT
Health workers with buckets are seen an Ebola treatment center in the city of Monrovia, Liberia.   (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
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(Newser) – At the center of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, health workers, protective clothing, and even body bags to bury the dead in are now in short supply. Liberia's health ministry says there are now "absolutely no body bags" to be found in Lofa, a northern county that borders fellow Ebola-hit countries Guinea and Sierra Leone, BusinessWeek reports. The county has seen almost half the country's Ebola cases and a World Health Organization spokeswoman says the serious shortage of health workers puts those "responding to this outbreak at risk—when people are tired, they are more likely to make mistakes.”

Even before the outbreak, Liberia had just 51 doctors for 4.4 million people and health workers say most infections could have been avoided if health centers had been equipped with basic supplies like rubber gloves, the Wall Street Journal reports. In Monrovia, the country's capital, a curfew has been ordered and a quarantine imposed on a slum that houses around 50,000 people, the AP reports. Residents of the West Point district attacked a health center on the weekend, making off with items including bedding believed to be contaminated with Ebola. Authorities say 17 out of 37 suspected Ebola patients who fled amid the confusion have now been found.

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