Suspected Ebola patients in Liberia have returned to a hospital and are being tested for the disease, a Liberian official told the Associated Press Tuesday.
The 17 patients being screened in Monrovia's Ebola holding facility had fled when looters raided the health center Saturday night, according to Information Minister Lewis Brown. They did not leave to avoid treatment, Brown told the BBC Monday, when the patients were still missing.
"Most of the people that went into this holding facility came there voluntarily," he said. "So our impression is that they still want to be [there], but they were forcibly removed by vandals and looters, not because they wanted to leave; so we are sure that they will return."
The looters, however, didn't just force patients out of the facility. They also took stained items like sheets and mattresses, which have not yet been found and could spread the disease.
These raids are just another challenge in the growing list of difficulties faced by health workers. Many residents infected with Ebola have had to be coaxed into seeking treatment in the first place, and, as the Associated Press reported, relatives have been removing loved ones from health centers like the one in Monrovia.
In the meantime, officials have been imposing quarantines and restricting travel across the borders of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. More than 1,200 people have died in the outbreak, with more than 2,200 infected, according to the World Health Organization.