The killings of an Ebola education team illustrate yet another horror of the disease: Not all of the dangers are viral.
Eight bodies, three of them belonging to journalists, were found in a remote part of southeastern Guinea after an attack on a team trying to teach people about the virus, Reuters reported. Government spokesman Albert Camara told Reuters that the eight bodies were found in a village latrine, and that three had had their throats slit.
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Guinea’s Prime Minister Mohamed Saïd Fofana said in a televised address that the team included local administrators, two medical officers, and a preacher, as well as the journalists. They were attacked by a crowd that threw stones and beat them with clubs when they tried to inform people about the disease, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The attack highlights the challenges for doctors and educators in the region: They must combat not only a dangerous disease, but local perceptions that the disease doesn’t exist.
The violence in Guinea is not isolated. This summer, FRONTLINE’s Ebola Outbreak was filmed in Sierra Leone, another country hard-hit by the epidemic. Producer Wael Dabbous documented how residents rioted in the streets of one city, Kenema, after rumors spread that Ebola was only a hoax to allow doctors to steal people’s blood.
The rioters tried to break down a hospital’s gates to rescue to the people inside. Such violence has led to more people staying hidden in their homes, where they infect neighbors and loved ones.
Watch the scene from Kenema: (Story continues after video)
President Obama noted the link between disease and global politics as he announced Tuesday that he would send U.S. troops to help build medical centers and train workers to fight the disease. The president said the spread of the disease in the region could contribute to instability and violence.
But as Thursday’s deaths illustrate, violence can also undercut campaigns to stop the disease.
Content retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/ebola-educators-reported-killed-in-guinea/.