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Mob Attacks Ebola Center, Takes Ebola

Patients flee from quarantine center in Liberia
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2014 4:30 PM CDT
Mob Attacks Ebola Center, Takes Ebola
People pass by Ebola virus health warning signs, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014.   (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

(Newser) – Residents on a "looting spree" broke into an Ebola quarantine center in Liberia yesterday, forcing Ebola patients to run for it and stealing items likely stained with the disease. "All between the houses you could see people fleeing with items looted from the patients," an official tells the AP. Now, he said, all 50,000 people living in West Point, the biggest slum in Monrovia, face the threat of infection. Stomach-churning detail: A neighbor said the stolen items, like sheets and mattresses, were stained with blood, vomit, and excrement.

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So why the break-in, in a country that's already struggling to contain Ebola? Reports vary, but the people were likely unhappy about having the center in their area, didn't like patients being brought in from other neighborhoods, or wanted the center closed because they consider Ebola a hoax, the BBC reports. "This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life," said a police officer. Ebola has already killed 1,145 people in West Africa, 413 of them in Liberia. (Read more Liberia stories.)

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