It has been reported that eight Ebola aid workers were allegedly killed and discarded in a latrine inside an isolated town in Guinea. This is a terrifying example of the rising suspicion residents have of strangers coming in and trying to help attempt in stopping the escalating health catastrophe.
These deaths are thought to be the first that have resulted from opposition to global efforts to control the Ebola epidemic in the area, stated media reports. Because of this, other medical teams have been forced to turn around by the masses in numerous locations. There was a treatment center in Liberia that ended up being attacked and looted as well.
The eight Ebola workers who were killed were attempting to raise awareness about the disease when villagers located in a region near the isolated town of Nzerekore used clubs and machetes to attack the unarmed workers, officials told several different media outlets. Albert Damantang Camara, who is a spokesperson for the government of Guinea, stated that the bodies of the Ebola workers were discovered in one of the town’s latrines. He added that the townspeople had allegedly killed the workers in cold blood.
He explained that the aid mission were made up of two medical officials, a pastor, three journalists and two local administrators. They had been reportedly attacked by a large number of villagers. They had first arrived on Tuesday to attempt to do decontamination work and also try to educate the villagers about preventing Ebola, but residents first hit them with rocks and beat them, stated media reports. The group attempted to escape by fleeing into the bush. One journalist who was able to get away, reported that she was able to hear people trying to find her while she hid.
It was Thursday when the eight murdered bodies were discovered in a septic tank, exclaimed Camara. Six individuals have been put under arrest and the town is now allegedly deserted. Even though an official motive for the killings has not yet been established, media reports state that the villagers believed the health care workers were actually spreading the disease.
Ebola first appeared in March in the southeastern part of Guinea, where the attacks happened. Since that time, it has spread throughout the lower continent of Africa in spite of international determinations to battle it. There have been over 2,600 people in West Africa who have died from the disease.
Complicating the hard work is lack of education in remote regions, where many citizens do not believe Ebola even exists. In August, in the same area where the aid workers were murdered, people revolted because of fear that health care workers fumigating a market were instead infecting people, stated the media.
Security is a major concern for health care workers, aid workers, clinics and hospitals and will remain so in the area. All of the governments that happen to be affected and the worldwide agencies which are fighting the epidemic are attempting to reach out to the rustic communities where distortions, misinformation and fright have all but stopped any effective preventive measures to control Ebola’s spread. It will continue to be that way until all regions which have the infection have been reached and virus controls put into place. Until that happens, a trace of Ebola will linger and continue to spread.
The United Nations Security Council stated the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is a “threat to international peace and security” on Thursday afternoon. Since March of this year, the infection has made at least 5,357 people sick, stated the World Health Organization (WHO). These have mainly been in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The virus has also spread to Nigeria and Senegal.
As of the present time, this outbreak of Ebola is the worst outbreak that has ever been. WHO officials are cautioning that over 20,000 individuals could eventually be infected if not more. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon explained that he is going to create a distinct mission in order to battle the virus and deploy staff in the worst affected regions. Sierra Leone has started a controversial three-day curfew in an attempt to try and halt the spread of the infection.
The killing of eight Ebola aid workers in an isolated village in Guinea has brought terror to health aid workers in the region. It just goes to show that even though places like Sierra Leone are trying to stop the spread of Ebola, other regions still do not understand what the virus is and have irrational fears of health aid workers and how they are trying to help.
By Kimberly Ruble