Via Reuters, a report datelined Kenema: Fear, suspicion undermine West Africa's battle against Ebola. Excerpt:
When Mohamed Swarray contracted the deadly Ebola disease in June, he was confined to a tented isolation ward at Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone. But he didn't stay there long.
Suspicious of the doctors in their masks and body-length protective suits, he slipped out and fled to the capital Freetown 300 km (185 miles) away. There, he was nursed in a private home for a week before being traced by officials and hurriedly returned, weak and frightened, to the Kenema unit.
With West Africa facing the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever, with 400 dead so far, this kind of fear and mistrust is driving dozens of victims to evade treatment, frustrating foreign and local doctors trying to contain the epidemic.
The outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia has left some of the world's poorest states, with porous borders and weak health systems undermined by war and misrule, grappling with one of the most lethal and contagious diseases on the planet.
Dr. Amara Jambai, Sierra Leone's director of disease prevention and control, said at least 57 suspected and confirmed Ebola cases were "missing", the victims having fled or gone into hiding.
"When you lose cases that way, you will not know where the next case will appear," he told Reuters.
Ebola causes fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea, and can kill up to 90 percent of those it infects. Highly contagious, it is transmitted through contact with the blood or other fluids of infected people or animals.
"My biggest problem, as it stands, is getting people to accept the disease," said Sheik Umar Khan, the doctor tasked with leading the fight against Ebola in Kenema's hospital.
"These escapes, emanating from fear and misunderstanding, make our work even more difficult," he added.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says Ebola is "out of control", located in at least 60 places across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Guinea has rejected this warning, saying it has its epidemic under control. But governments' reluctance to fully admit and report the scale of outbreaks can also hamper containment.
The World Health Organization has called on other West African States to prepare to tackle the disease and is co-hosting a meeting of West African health ministers in Ghana this week to try to strengthen the region's response.
Swarray was tracked down in Freetown after messages about his escape were broadcast on local radio. The nurse friend treating him believed he had typhoid and is now being monitored for Ebola. His mother, who traveled with him, is still missing.