Health officials race to stop Ebola virus

Soldiers clamped down on people trying to travel to Liberia's capital Thursday from rural areas hard-hit by the Ebola virus hours after the president declared

Water bucket sellers hawk their wares as the

Water bucket sellers hawk their wares as the public buy them to try to protect them selves from the deadly Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. The price of buckets has increased as Liberian people are encouraged to wash their hands after filling it with disinfectant to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. The World Health Organization has begun an emergency meeting on the Ebola crisis, and said at least 932 deaths in four African countries are blamed on the virus, with many hundreds more being treated in quarantine conditions. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh) (Credit: AP)

MONROVIA, Liberia - (AP) -- Soldiers clamped down on people trying to travel to Liberia's capital Thursday from rural areas hard-hit by the Ebola virus hours after the president declared a national state of emergency.

Reports have emerged of families hiding sick relatives at home and of abandoned bodies being left in the streets.

Similar efforts were underway in eastern areas of neighboring Sierra Leone after officials there launched "Operation Octopus" to try and keep those sick with Ebola in isolation. While the outbreak has now reached four countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone account for more than 60 percent of the deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The outbreak that emerged in March has claimed at least 932 lives.

In announcing the 90-day state of emergency, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history requires "extraordinary measures for the very survival of our state and for the protection of the lives of our people."

"Ignorance, poverty, as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices continue to exacerbate the spread of the disease especially in the counties," Sirleaf said late Wednesday.

She warned that some civil liberties could be suspended as needed, and by Thursday soldiers already were restricting movements on the roads to the capital, Monrovia, witnesses said. Some soldiers were deployed to the crossroads town of Klay about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Monrovia in an effort to stop people from three Ebola-infected counties from coming closer to the capital.

Yet even as authorities tried to keep more people from reaching Monrovia, the capital already has been hard hit by the virus.

National Health Workers Association president Joseph Tamba said the state of emergency is necessary. But he says people should have been given advance notice to buy food ahead of the movement restrictions.

Previous outbreaks of the Ebola virus were limited to parts of Congo and Uganda, far from the capital cities in those countries.

The World Health Organization is holding talks this week on whether to declare an international health emergency.

Meanwhile, a man who recently visited West Africa and then was hospitalized in New York City with a high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms does not have the Ebola virus.

Mount Sinai Hospital said Wednesday the man tested negative for the deadly disease, which has erupted in West Africa.

The man was ill when he arrived at Mount Sinai Hospital early Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says three Americans in the United States have been tested for Ebola since the outbreak was first reported and those results were negative.

Officials at U.S. airports are watching travelers from Africa for flu-like symptoms that could be linked to Ebola.

___

 

Associated Press writer Clarence Roy-Macaulay in Freetown, Sierra Leone contributed to this report.

More on this topic

Ebola Information

CDC.gov

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

Police say an employee was stabbed inside the 1 Police: Worker stabbed inside White Plains Stop and Shop
A beloved North Rockland cheerleading coach who was 2 Hundreds gather to mourn loss of beloved North Rockland cheer coach
Con Edison workers say both a new utility 3 Car crashes into utility pole in Mount Kisco
VIDEO: Ossining chase leads to crash, manhunt for 4 VIDEO: Ossining chase leads to crash, manhunt for suspect
Chopper 12 was over a tractor-trailer accident on 5 Chopper 12 over Newburgh-Beacon Bridge accident

advertisement | advertise on News 12

More News

The hospital says it placed the patient in NY doctor: 'Odds are' patient doesn't have Ebola

A man who visited West Africa last month and is at a New York City

A second possible Ebola patient has been taken 2nd American aid worker with Ebola arrives in US

A second American aid worker infected with Ebola arrived Tuesday in Atlanta, where doctors will

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE