Ebola crisis: Liberia orders curfew and quarantine

Liberian soldiers on the streets of Monrovia. Photo: 19 August 2014 Liberia is already under a state of emergency

Liberia has imposed a night-time curfew and has quarantined an area of the capital Monrovia in a bid to halt the deadly Ebola outbreak.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the curfew would be from 21:00 local time to 06:00 (21:00-06:00 GMT).

She said all movement would be blocked in and out of the West Point area.

Meanwhile, three doctors with Ebola who started taking an experimental drug last week showed remarkable signs of improvement, a Liberian minister said.

Information Minister Lewis Brown said the drug was given to one Nigerian and two Liberian doctors who had caught Ebola while helping to save the lives of other victims of the virus.

In a radio broadcast, the Mrs Sirleaf blamed her government's failure to bring Ebola under control on the public's disregard for the advice of health workers and disrespect for official warnings.

Liberia already imposed a state of emergency earlier this month, but the number of deaths from the disease has continued to climb.

A mob attacked a health centre in West Point on Saturday, during which 17 suspected Ebola patients went missing.

Map: Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Ebola has no known cure but the World Health Organization (WHO) has ruled that untested drugs can be used in light of the scale of outbreak in West Africa.

Since the beginning of the year, 1,229 people have died of the virus.

It is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person.

Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external haemorrhaging from areas such as eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can cause organ failure.

The outbreak began in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

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Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
A fruit bat is pictured in 2010 at the Amneville zoo in France. Fruit bats are believed to be a major carrier of the Ebola virus but do not show symptoms
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% - but current outbreak has about 55%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus' natural host
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