Liberia Battles Ebola Epidemic

In West Africa, more than 2,200 people have contracted Ebola since March, and 1,200 of them have died from the virus. Liberia has suffered the most deaths to date, with teams of undertakers wearing protective clothing now collecting victims from all over the capital of Monrovia. Poor sanitation, close living quarters, and a lack of education have contributed to the spread of the virus. Among some, a belief has grown that the epidemic is a fraud, and that people are dying from other causes, leading to confrontations between citizens and health workers. Burial teams have been turned away while trying to retrieve bodies from neighborhoods, and isolation wards have been vandalized or overrun by mobs believing the Ebola virus is a hoax. Getty Images photographer John Moore has spent the past week in Liberia, documenting the situation as the country battles to halt the spread of Ebola while struggling to handle the huge rise of infectious, sick, and dying patients.
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1. A burial team from the Liberian health department prays before entering a house to remove the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. Teams are picking up bodies from all over the capital of Monrovia, where the spread of the Ebola virus has been called catastrophic. The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 1,200 people in four West African countries and has overwhelmed the Liberian health system.




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2. A burial team prepares to collect the dead body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, on August 14, 2014.




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3. A burial team from the Liberian health department sprays disinfectant over the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia.




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4. A United Nations helicopter flies overhead as a Liberian burial team collects the dead body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia.




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5. A burial team removes the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus from her home on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia.




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6. A Liberian health department burial team disinfects their protective clothing after retrieving the body of a woman on August 14, 2014.




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7. Korpo Klay watches as a Liberian health department burial team retrieves her deceased cousin Kormassa Kaba, who was suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014.




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8. A Liberian health worker walks to interview family members of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus inside a home in an impoverished neighborhood on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. Health workers determined that the woman had died of other causes.




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9. Public health advocates stage street theater to attract people to attend an Ebola awareness and prevention event on August 18, 2014 in Monrovia. The Liberian government and international groups are trying to convince residents of the danger and are urging people to wash their hands to help prevent the spread of the epidemic, which is spread by bodily fluids. Prevention steps on the sign include "Avoid physical contact with people showing signs and symptoms such as continuous high fever, red eyes, vomiting and stomach ache", "Keep away from bats, monkeys, baboons and dead animals", and "Avoid eating bush meat, cook all food very well."




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10. Public health advocates stage street performances to attract people for an Ebola awareness and prevention event in Monrovia on August 18, 2014.




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11. Fayiah Sarkpu looks towards the body of his wife, Tawah Fayiah, who died overnight in their one-room home on August 16, 2014 in Monrovia. A burial team for Ebola victims was notified to later collect the body. Many of the deceased, however, are not tested before burial or cremation. Poor sanitation and close living quarters have contributed to the spread of the Ebola virus, which is transmitted through bodily fluids, often between people caring for sick family members.




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12. Community organizer John Saah Mbayoh looks over a list of people who have died due to the Ebola virus in his impoverished West Point neighborhood in Monrovia on August 15, 2014.




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13. A Liberian health worker speaks with families in a classroom now used as Ebola isolation ward in Monrovia on August 15, 2014. People suspected of contracting the Ebola virus are being brought by health workers to this Ebola isolation ward, a closed primary school originally built by USAID, while larger facilities are being constructed to house the surging number of patients.




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14. A corpse lies in a classroom now used as Ebola ward in Monrovia on August 15, 2014.




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15. A Liberian health worker disinfects a corpse after the man died in an Ebola isolation ward on August 15, 2014.




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16. Ibrahim Fambulle, sick and weak, tries to stand as a corpse lies nearby in an Ebola ward in Monrovia on August 15, 2014.




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17. Umu Fambulle stands over her husband Ibrahim after he staggered and fell, knocking himself unconscious, in an Ebola ward in Monrovia on August 15, 2014.




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18. Neighbors watch as a Liberian burial team retrieves the body of a 60-year-old Ebola victim from his home on August 17, 2014, near Monrovia.




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19. A man washes his hands in chlorinated water as UNICEF health workers walk through the streets, speaking about Ebola prevention on August 18, 2014 in New Kru Town, Liberia. UNICEF is canvassing communities in and around the capital, urging residents to wash their hands to help prevent the spread of the epidemic, which is spread by bodily fluids.




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20. A girl sits alone in a cinema in the West Point favela on August 15, 2014 in Monrovia. The owner said that few people have come since the Ebola outbreak began.




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21. Batu Flowers tries to convince local residents that the Ebola epidemic is real in Monrovia, Liberia, on August 16, 2014. Many people believe that the epidemic is a fraud and that people are dying from other causes. Many of the deceased are not tested before burial or cremation.




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22. A son tries to prepare his father in their one-room home before they are taken to an Ebola isolation ward in Monrovia on August 15, 2014.




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23. People make their opinions known after protesters drove away an Ebola burial team who had come to collect the bodies of four people who had died overnight in the West Point slum on August 16, 2014. A crowd of several hundred local residents, chanting, "No Ebola in West Point," drove away the burial team and their police escort, who fired warning shots in the air.




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24. People watch police depart after crowds drove away an Ebola burial team who had come to collect the bodies of four people who had died overnight in the West Point slum on August 16, 2014. Many in the mob chanted "No Ebola in West Point," saying that the Ebola epidemic is a hoax.




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25. A crowd urges people in an Ebola isolation center to come out after a mob crashed through the gates of the facility in the West Point favela on August 16, 2014. A crowd of several hundred people, chanting, "No Ebola in West Point," forced open the gates and took the patients out, many saying that the Ebola epidemic is a hoax.




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26. A family prepares to leave an Ebola isolation center after a mob opened the gates of the facility on August 16, 2014. The center, a closed primary school originally built by USAID, was being used by the Liberian Health Ministry to temporarily isolate people suspected of carrying the virus.




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27. A crowd enters the grounds of an Ebola isolation center in the West Point slum on August 16, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.




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28. Local residents tell patients in an Ebola isolation ward to come out, as a mob overran the facility on August 16, 2014.




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29. A man carries a girl away from an Ebola isolation center as a mob overruns the facility on August 16, 2014. Some 10 patients had "escaped" the building the night before, according to a nurse there, as the center had no medicine to treat them.




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30. A family (center), leaves an Ebola isolation center after a mob forced open the gates of the facility on August 16, 2014. The crowd of several hundred people, chanting, "No Ebola in West Point," opened the gates and took out the patients.




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31. A very sick Saah Exco, 10, lies on the ground in a back alley of the West Point slum of Monrovia on August 19, 2014. The boy was one of the patients that was pulled out of a holding center for suspected Ebola patients when the facility was overrun by a mob on Saturday. A local clinic Tuesday refused to treat the boy, according to residents, because of the danger of infection.




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32. Local residents gather around a very sick Saah Exco, 10, in a back alley in Monrovia, and discuss how to help him, on August 19, 2014. The boy was one of the patients that was pulled out of a holding center for suspected Ebola patients when the facility was overrun by a mob on Saturday. A local clinic Tuesday refused to treat the boy, according to residents, because of the danger of infection, although the boy was never tested for Ebola.