World Bulletin / News Desk
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has warned that anyone caught hiding suspected Ebola virus disease (EVD) patients will be prosecuted.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told state radio that some patients had been kept in homes and churches instead of receiving medical attention.
Last week Sierra Leone issued a similar warning, saying some patients had left hospital and gone into hiding.
With 635 cases and 367 fatalities, the EVD outbreak is already the deadliest on record in West Africa.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for "drastic action" to contain the outbreak.
"Let this warning go out - anyone found or reported to be holding suspected EVD cases in homes or prayer houses can be prosecuted under the law of Liberia," Ms Sirleaf said.
"It is, as I speak, taking the lives of our citizens. The disease is real and is in our country and can kill a lot of people."
Cases were first reported in March where most deaths have been in the southern Guekedou region of Guinea.
According to the WHO, Guinea has reported 396 cases and 280 deaths; Sierra Leone has 176 cases and 46 deaths; and Liberia has reported 63 cases and 41 deaths.
Treatment centres were set up along with campaigns that include training health professionals to use protective clothing and forbidding hospitals to turn away patients with Ebola symptoms by the Liberia's health ministry.
EVD, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, has no cure and is spread by contact with the fluids of infected people or animals, such as urine, sweat and blood.
Warnings stating that the outbreak is "out of control" has been made by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).
It says the epidemic will spread further unless there is a stronger international response.
The WHO has sent 150 experts to the region to try to contain the outbreak but has also warned of the potential for "further international spread".Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2014, 14:42