Ebola Center in Guinea Closed Because of Threats

An international aid organization suspended operations at its Macenta, Guinea, treatment center for patients with the deadly Ebola virus after workers there received threats.

Community members became agitated and aggressive as they blamed staff at the center for bringing the bleeding disorder to the country, according to a statement today from Sam Taylor, a spokesman for Swiss-based Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders. The aid group wants to resume activities as soon as possible, he said.

There are at least 143 suspected cases of Ebola in Guinea, and at least 86 people there have died of the incurable disease, the World Health Organization said today. Transmitted through contact with blood and body fluids, the disease is one of a few designated a risk to national security by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has sent a team to Guinea to investigate.

“We fully understand that the outbreak of Ebola is alarming for the local population, but it is essential in the fight against the disease that patients remain in the treatment center,” Taylor said in the e-mailed statement.

The rapidly evolving outbreak is the first time Ebola virus has been seen in West Africa, the Geneva-based WHO said yesterday in a statement on its website.

The Macenta center, located in the eastern Guinea town, has an isolation unit designed to curb the spread of the disease, Medecins Sans Frontieres said on its website.

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