Ebola outbreak: Families of Liberia victims 'leaving bodies to rot in streets' to avoid quarantine

Drastic measures have been brought in to stop the spread of the deadly disease

Relatives of Ebola victims in Liberia are leaving bodies rotting in the streets because of fears about being quarantined, according to officials.

More than 280 people have so far died of the disease in the country, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency last week.

Tough new powers to crack down on Ebola include the decontamination of victims’ homes, monitoring relatives and quarantine.

People have reportedly been seen dragging bodies into the streets rather than facing the emergency measures in the capital of Monrovia, which is still scared by the civil war that ended in 2003.

Soldiers were deployed to Lofa County on Monday to start isolating affected communities and authorities are cremating bodies after local communities opposed burials near homes because of infection fears.

With less than half of those infected surviving the disease, many Africans regard Ebola isolation wards as death traps.

Samaritan's Purse medical personnel spray disinfectant on a person who died from the Ebola virus in the Case Management Center in Foya, Liberia Samaritan's Purse medical personnel spray disinfectant on a person who died from the Ebola virus in the Case Management Center in Foya, Liberia Liberia’s Information Minister, Lewis Brown, said people were removing bodies of disease victims from their homes to avoid the crackdown, increasing the chances of it spreading further.

“They're exposing themselves to the risk of being contaminated," he told Reuters.

"We're asking people to please leave the bodies in their homes and we'll pick them up."

Although he hoped it “will not require excessive force”, Mr Brown said authorities would do whatever they could to restrict the movement of people trying to flee infected areas.

Liberia is one of four countries affected by an outbreak of the deadly virus, which has so far killed 932 people in West Africa according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures.

Liberia immigration officers wearing protective gloves inspect the travel documents at a border post with Sierra Leone, 30 July (EPA) Liberia immigration officers wearing protective gloves inspect the travel documents at a border post with Sierra Leone, 30 July (EPA) Ebola, which begins with flu-like symptoms and can lead to horrific external and internal bleeding, is deadly in the majority of cases and has no known cure.

As of 4 August, 1,711 cases of the disease have been confirmed, with 363 deaths in Guinea, 282 in Liberia, 286 in Sierra Leone and one – a nurse – in Nigeria.

Saudi Arabia has also announced one death of a person with Ebola-like symptoms.

The outbreak started in Guinea in March and is showing no sign of slowing, spreading fastest in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The three countries announced a raft of measures last week to contain the disease, shutting schools and imposing quarantines on victims’ homes, amid fears the incurable virus would overrun healthcare systems in one of the world's poorest regions.

A spokesman for WHO said the organisation was working with national health authorities on informing the public about dangers of handling dead bodies and training Red Cross teams to conduct safe burials.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Read more: British experts urge US and WHO to ‘give Africans experimental cure’
Stricken US missionary staff ‘improving’ after taking experimental serum
Ebola - the disease that scares even scientists
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?