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The fear of Ebola led to slayings - and a whole village was punished

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WOMEY, Guinea — Ammy Brittain, February 28 - The lecture about the dangers of Ebola had just begun, but the village had heard enough... A mob of men masked their faces, waved machetes and rushed toward the speakers... Two days later, authorities uncovered the bodies of eight people in a ditch used for human waste. The dead, who had come to the village of Womey to teach about Ebola, were local officials, doctors, journalists and a popular pastor. Several had their throats slit...

Those who were hacked and beaten to death that September day died not from the Ebola virus — but froom the fear of Ebola. By all accounts, villagers attacked them because they believed the delegation had come to kill them with the disease...

Government groups launched educational billboard and radio campaigns, but many villagers in the forest region cannot read and may speak only one of several native languages. And most people there have no exposure to billboards or radios. Officials knew they had to spread the word in person, village by village, to stand any chance of stopping the deadly virus...

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Ammy Brittain
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