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As Ebola stalks West Africa, medics fight mistrust, hostility

Published on Jul 14, 2014 3:00 PM
 
Health workers carry the body of an Ebola virus victim in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on June 25, 2014. Governments and health agencies trying to contain the world's deadliest ever Ebola epidemic in West Africa fear the contagion could be worse than reported because suspicious locals are chasing away health workers and shunning treatment. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

CONAKRY, Guinea/KENEMA, Sierra Leone (REUTERS) - Governments and health agencies trying to contain the world's deadliest ever Ebola epidemic in West Africa fear the contagion could be worse than reported because suspicious locals are chasing away health workers and shunning treatment.

From Guinea, where the four-month-old outbreak claimed the first of more than 500 lives, to Sierra Leone, scores of patients are hiding away, believing hospitalisation is a "death sentence".

In Guinea's south-eastern Forest Region some terrified villagers are shutting off their communities to medical workers, even blocking roads and downing bridges.

Over the border in Liberia's Lofa County, health workers trying to screen two communities for the deadly disease were chased off by locals armed with cutlasses, knives, and stones, according to an internal UN report seen by Reuters.

 
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