Guinea Villagers Murder Eight Ebola Aid Workers With Machetes, Clubs

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Eight workers trying to raise awareness about Ebola in Guinea were murdered by villagers using machetes and clubs, BBC reports.

The team included health workers, local officials and journalists. Several bodies were discovered in the septic tank of a school in the village Wome, outside the city Nzerekore in southern Guinea. The workers reportedly disappeared after residents threw stones at them upon their arrival in the small town.

One team member who survived, a journalist, told the BBC that she hid and could hear the villagers searching for the aid workers. Government officials said they’ve arrested six people and that Wome is now deserted.

Aid groups have been struggling to combat the disease partially because many villagers accuse aid workers of spreading Ebola themselves. BBC reports that others don’t believe there is a disease at all.

Close to 2,630 people have died of the disease in West Africa so far. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been the hardest hit. The outbreak began in Guinea, near the town of Wome. Ebola infects those who eat bush meat that contains the disease, and is spread by contact with body fluids, often through traditional burial rites.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects that in a worst-case scenario, up to 550,000 people could be infected by Ebola in West Africa by January, according to The Hill. The CDC’s projections, however, assume no additional intervention.

President Obama will be sending 3,000 U.S. soldiers to Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal, the White House announced this week. The initial cost of the effort is pegged at $500 million. (RELATED: Obama Sends Army Into Africa To Combat Ebola)

U.S. soldiers will work with doctors and local experts to train people in medical care in an attempt to keep the rapid spread of the disease at bay.

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Sarah Hurtubise