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Liberia’s information ministry has announced that 17 suspected Ebola patients who went missing after a Monrovia quarantine centre was attacked have been found.

The government had previously denied they were missing.

New UN figures show that 1,229 people have now died since the beginning of this year in the outbreak that has also hit Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there were 84 deaths reported between August 14 and 16.

Ebola has no known cure, but the WHO has ruled that untested drugs can be used to treat patients in light of the scale of the current outbreak – the deadliest to date.

The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person. Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external hemorrhaging from areas such as eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can cause organ failure.

The Liberian information minister said the missing patients were now at the newly expanded treatment unit opened over the weekend at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in the capital, Monrovia.

He also said the health of three Liberian doctors infected with Ebola had improved after they receiving the experimental drug ZMapp.

Two US missionaries, who were flown home for treatment from Liberia, are reportedly recovering from the virus after taking doses of the same medicine.


ZMapp was also given to a 75-year-old Spanish priest who contracted Ebola in Liberia, but he died in Spain last week.

Seventeen suspected Ebola patients who went missing in Liberia after a Monrovia quarantine centre was attacked have been found

Seventeen suspected Ebola patients who went missing in Liberia after a Monrovia quarantine centre was attacked have been found

In Nigeria, which has had four fatal Ebola cases, health officials say five people have now recovered from the virus and been discharged from hospital in Lagos. Another three are still being treated.

The attack on Liberian quarantine centre, where 37 people were being held in Monrovia’s densely populated West Point township, took place on Saturday evening.

There are conflicting reports over what sparked the riot, in which medical supplies were also stolen.

Officials said the protesters were unhappy that patients were being taken there from other parts of the capital. Other reports suggested the protesters had believed Ebola was a hoax and wanted to force the centre to close.

There are also reports that the mattresses and linen being used by patients were taken during the attack.

In neighboring Sierra Leone, the agricultural minister has said the outbreak is also having a severe impact on the economy, as 66% of people were farmers and agriculture accounted for 46% of GDP and 25% of all exports.

Since the outbreak spread to Nigeria in July, when a person infected with Ebola flew from Liberia to Lagos, several airlines have stopped flights to the worst-affected countries.

Kenya’s ban on people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone entering the East African nation comes into force on Wednesday – and Cameroon has closed its land, sea and air borders with Nigeria.

A Liberian quarantine centre for suspected Ebola patients in capital Monrovia has been attacked and looted by protesters, police say.

The incident happened in the densely populated West Point township on Saturday evening.

At least 20 patients who were being monitored for signs of the illness have left the centre.

Officials said blood-stained bedding looted from the centre posed a serious infection risk.

The protesters were unhappy that patients were being brought in from other parts of the capital, the assistant health minister said.

Other reports suggested the protesters believed Ebola was a hoax and wanted to force the quarantine centre to close.

The Liberian quarantine centre for suspected Ebola patients in Monrovia has been attacked and looted by protesters

The Liberian quarantine centre for suspected Ebola patients in Monrovia has been attacked and looted by protesters (photo Reuters)

The quarantine centre was set up to observe suspected Ebola patients and then transfer them to a main treatment centre if they prove positive.

It is not known if those at the centre were infected with the virus, though one report suggested they had proved positive.

A senior police officer said blood-stained mattresses, beddings and medical equipment were taken from the centre.

“This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life,” he said.

He said the looting spree could threaten to spread the virus to the whole of the West Point area.

Described as a slum, there are an estimated 50,000 people in the West Point neighborhood.

The Ebola epidemic began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

On Friday, the death toll rose to 1,145 after the WHO said 76 new deaths had been reported in the two days to August 13. There have been 2,127 cases reported in total.

The attack at the Monrovia centre is seen as a major setback in the struggle to halt the outbreak.

Health experts say that the key to ending the Ebola outbreak is to stop it spreading in Liberia, where ignorance about the virus is high and many people are reluctant to cooperate with medical staff.