Via Reuters: West Africans fill churches to pray for deliverance from 'devil' Ebola. Excerpt:
People in Sierra Leone and Liberia filled churches on Sunday to seek deliverance from an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, defying official warnings to avoid public gatherings to contain an epidemic that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa.
With their creaking healthcare systems completely overrun, Sierra Leone and Liberia have both declared states of emergency to tackle the highly contagious and incurable disease, which has also stricken neighbouring Guinea.
People still flocked to sing and pray at churches in Liberia's ramshackle ocean-front capital Monrovia, many of them comparing Ebola to the brutal civil war that ravaged the country between 1989 and 2003, killing nearly a quarter of a million people.
One of the deadliest diseases known to man, Ebola kills up to 90 percent of those infected. Discovered nearly 40 years ago deep in the forests of central Africa, its symptoms include internal and external bleeding, diarrhoea and vomiting.
"Everyone is so afraid," said Martee Jones Seator at Saint Peter's Lutheran Church. "Ebola is not going to shake our faith in any way ... because we've been through difficult times."
With the disease now in four African countries - following the death in Nigeria last month of a U.S. citizen who arrived from Liberia - the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday classified the epidemic as an international health emergency.
The WHO has said that the world's worst outbreak of Ebola -- with 1,779 cases and 962 deaths -- will likely continue for months as the region's healthcare systems struggle to cope. It has appealed urgently for funding and emergency medical staff.
A WHO medical ethics committee will discuss next week the use of experimental drugs to tackle the outbreak after two U.S. aid workers showed improvement after being treated with ZMapp, a drug developed by California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.