Sierra Leone Declares Emergency as Ebola Deaths Top 700


ap_sierra_leone_kb_140731_16x9_992The worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 deaths in West Africa as the World Health Organization on Thursday announced dozens of new fatalities.

In Sierra Leone, President Ernest Bai Koroma vowed to quarantine sick patients at home and have authorities conduct house-to-house searches for others who may have been exposed as the country struggles with families resisting treatment at isolation centers. Some have kept loved ones at home given the high death rates at clinics where Ebola patients are quarantined.

His announcement late Wednesday came as neighboring Liberia also ramped up its efforts to slow the virulent disease’s spread, shutting down schools and ordering most public servants to stay home from work.

“It could be helpful for the government to have powers to isolate and quarantine people and it’s certainly better than what’s been done so far,” said Dr. Heinz Feldmann, chief of virology at U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Whether it works, we will have to wait and see.”

The U.S. Peace Corps also was evacuating hundreds of its volunteers in the affected countries. Two Peace Corps workers are under isolation outside the U.S. after having contact with a person who later died of the Ebola virus, a State Department official said. SEE MORE ON PAGE2

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