Anti-healthcare Isolation For Ebola Patients In Liberia Leads To Riots

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For weeks the ebola epidemic has been making lots of news.  There is no cure for it and only an experimental vaccine is available.  This week, instead of isolation and control of this epidemic, there is riots, chaos and ignorance which isn’t surprising, this is third world Africa.  But this threatens everyone, over time.


Rhiza Labs FluTracker Forum • View topic – West Point – Smash & Grab Ebola On The Run


Kroma came to the West Point holding center with her sister, her three children, a cousin named Bindu, and two other family members. They are all women, or girls — most caregivers in Liberia are — and they washed Kroma’s clothes, fed her rice, wiped down her body, and cleaned up her vomit with a rag and some chlorine.

Those are the kinds of chores that give you Ebola. And the girls had no gloves. All the gloves the Ministry of Health brought this place when it opened yesterday, all 150 of them, were gone by the middle of the night.

That’s when three people escaped. Because Sam Tarplah and his staff didn’t have any gloves, they couldn’t restrain the patients who wanted to flee. They could only plead.

“We begged them, told them people are coming tomorrow to help you,” Tarplah said. “But there was no way we could fight them.”


Anything that isn’t nailed down, vanishes.  Many professional healthcare people are becoming increasingly scared of working with these patients due to the high chance of being infected, too.


A mob descended on the center at around 5:30 p.m., chanting, “No Ebola in West Point! No Ebola in West Point!” They stormed the front gate and pushed into the holding center. They stole the few gloves someone had donated this morning, and the chlorine sprayers used to disinfect the bodies of those who die here, all the while hollering that Ebola is a hoax.

They ransacked the protective suits, the goggles, the masks. They destroyed part of Tarplah’s (the doctor) car as he was fleeing the crowd.


We see the same sort of irrationality here in the US.  Antivaccinationists, for example, are experts at denial of reality.  We have several contagious diseases breaking out here due to antivaccinationists refusing to protect us by getting their shots.


So the tragic sight of Africans who have even less information, doing destructive things, refusing to understand diseases and how they spread, will lead to this epidemic getting much worse.


…they took mattresses and bedding, utensils and plastic chairs.

“Everybody left with their own thing,” she said. “What are they carrying to their homes? They are carrying their deaths.”

She said the police showed up but the crowd intimidated them.

“The police were there but they couldn’t contain them. They started threatening the police, so the police just looked at them,” she said.  And then mob left with all of the patients.


Sounds really familiar!  This is why mob rule is very dangerous.  Romantics love the idea of mob rule but usually rue the day this actually happens.  Western Europe and the US, by refusing to put all of these nations under strict embargo to contain the epidemic, are endangering all of us totally unnecessarily.


When I was a child, anyone with contagious diseases like whooping cough, for example, was put under quarantine.  Yellow fever would see victims restricted to isolation wards on islands in the Deep South, for example.


Now, everyone holds their breath and diseases spread and the concept of quarantine is poorly applied.


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7 responses to “Anti-healthcare Isolation For Ebola Patients In Liberia Leads To Riots

  1. melponeme_k

    The minute this thing hit large cities in Sierra Leone, Liberia..etc a strict quarantine should have been enforced against flights from and to these countries.

  2. luc

    Antivaccinationists, speaking of them I am told one of them got a job on ‘The View’. Elsewhere she was anti vaccine. One estimate is people followed her advice and 30K children died. If this is true can someone confirm?

  3. Jim R

    They also used to quarantine people with TB and Hansen’s Disease.

    We toured the Hansen’s museum last time we visited south Louisiana. They actually still have some folks living there who once had the disease. There’s some sort of antibiotic for it now, but after living there for decades, some of the patients had nowhere to go. So now it’s like a nursing home for elderly Hansen’s patients.

    TB is making a comeback, by the way…

  4. Jim R

    … and the way to prevent yellow fever is to get rid of mosquitoes. It isn’t really contagious without the insect vector. Several diseases are that way.

    For Ebola, the other continents should cancel all air travel to Africa right now. Boat travel is OK, because if an Ebola victim gets on a boat, he’ll either get over it or die before the boat gets to the other side of the ocean.

    If some do-gooders want to go and work with patients, fine. Get on the boat.

  5. Jim R

    Oh, and is it time to use the word “overpopulation” yet? Or is that still taboo? It just came to mind when I followed your link to the website discussing the Liberian clinic.

  6. JimmyJ

    @JimR: Are you suggesting Africa is overpopulated or the entire human race? I don’t agree that we are overpopulated as that is a matter of a lot of conditions and subject to debate but I would agree that our population growth curve is absolutely unsustainable.

    For the sake of it though, I’d venture to guess that human population equilibrium is probably where it was post ice age with low levels of agriculture and city states with the occasional empire built on human labour and weapons technology. It wouldn’t take much to put us back there but it would take a lot to put us farther back than sustainable agriculture, metal hand weapons with some gunpowder weapons. Anything more advanced requires a world wide civilization and a cheap chemical or radiological energy source. (For the green obsessed, wind and solar require those prerequisites simply to manufacture and deploy.)

    We have sustained a long population growth curve due to cheap energy sources and technology. I can certainly state that this is not a permanent situation. We won’t know exactly what will deplete human population in a big way until there is a downturn of the cycle with many of us dying off. No natural population continues to grow forever.

    Zoonoses (infectious pathogens that cross from animals to humans) like Ebola (or Flu for that matter) were always there, and likely killed off large concentrations of humans here and there over the millenia, but as the overall population was scattered it wasn’t a mortal blow for the species. Even episodes such as the Black Death were blips on the long growth curve. But with ever higher population the rate of emergence of novel strains is increased as well as the infection rates for existing strains. But zoonoses are simply one of many horsemen that will doom us.

    The ongoing destruction of species and habitats will come back to haunt us eventually as the biosphere that supports us collapses entirely. In the meantime our luck at controlling dangerous technologies such as bioweapons, nukes, nanotech or AI may run out. Each of these will nibble away at us so it’s hard to guess which one will have a bigger impact.

    Personally I suspect an ultra high energy Carrington Event is the most likely short term deal breaker. Once there is such a mortal blow the knock-on effects to our technology dependant civilization will be compounded and worldwide populations will collapse. Think loss of industrial medicine production, loss of industrial food production and distribution, loss of energy production and distribution in winter etc.

  7. Jim R

    OK, how’s this: Africa is a wretched petri dish for human disease (from all parasite and pathogen phyla). And “western civilization” is merely a slightly less-wretched one.

    As for Nanotech and AI, I’m a lot less concerned about ’em. Our ability to manufacture them will collapse before they become major problems.

    Nukes are here, now. Few people recognize it, but NPPs are maybe a thousand times more dangerous than nuke weapons. IMNSHO, Fukushima has already spewed more radwaste into the air and ocean than the next ten nuclear wars combined. And it has hundreds of sister-disasters on several continents, just waiting for a drought, flood, earthquake, or power grid outage. Or simply for rust to finish them off.

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