CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — A crowd of people angry about an Ebola outbreak that has killed 86 people across Guinea attacked a center where people were being held in isolation, prompting an international aid group to evacuate its team, officials said Saturday.
The violence took place in the southern town of Macenta, where at least 14 people have died since the outbreak emerged last month. The mob of people who descended upon the clinic accused Doctors Without Borders health workers of bringing Ebola to Guinea, where there had never previously been any cases.
Guinea’s government swiftly condemned the attack, saying that Doctors Without Borders and other international aid groups were key to stopping the spread of Ebola.
‘‘The international community has rapidly mobilized to help us in these difficult moments with considerable medical support and specialists on the ground at the disease’s epicenter,’’ the statement said. ‘‘That’s why the government is calling on people to stay calm and allow our partners to help us eradicate this epidemic.’’
There is no cure for Ebola, which causes fever and severe bleeding, and up to 90 percent of patients die from the strain that has been detected in Guinea.
A total of 86 people have died so far from Ebola in Guinea and two other confirmed deaths have been reported in neighboring Liberia. Authorities in Mali are also investigating three suspected cases of Ebola, and they have sent samples overseas for testing.
Experts say that Ebola is carried by fruit bats living in West Africa, and that it could have been transmitted to a human who ate a bat or another animal that had bitten by a bat. Health officials emphasize it can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is infected. But that hasn’t stopped fear and misinformation from spreading.
In Guinea, passengers aboard a crowded bus fled at the sight of an elderly man who vomited, fearing he was ill with Ebola. In Mali, people protested in the neighborhood where the suspected Ebola patients were being isolated, fearing their presence.
And an Air France flight from the Guinean capital that landed in Paris on Friday was briefly quarantined after the crew discovered indications that an ill passenger had been sick in the toilets. After medical checks on board the flight, the 180 passengers and 11 crew members were released, Air France said.