In what has to be right up there among the weirdest things to have been stolen, a group of bandits in the West African country of Guinea stole a cooler containing Ebola-infected blood samples.
According to ABC News, the Ebola infected blood samples were stolen by a group of roadside bandits. The incident happened on the route from the Kankan prefecture in central Guinea to a test site in Gueckedou, according to National health officials. The Ebola-infected blood samples were stored in a number of test tubes inside a refrigerated container, and were being transported to the test site.
The theft of Ebola infected blood samples has raised concerns regarding the security measures (or the lack of them) while transporting hazardous cargo. Government officials, who have started an investigation into the incident, vowed to provide better security measures so that instances like these do not happen again.
According to reports, the Ebola-infected blood samples were transported inside a minibus, when the bandits intercepted the vehicle and made away with the deadly cargo. Guinea Red Cross press officer Faya Etienne Tolno, who was a witness to the incident, says he is unsure why the bandits targeted the blood samples. Considering the severity of the issue, officials have turned to the media in a bid to contact the bandits and inform them about the potential hazards of getting infected by the Ebola infected blood sample. They have used the national radio to reach out to the bandits and appealed to them to return the samples.
Barry Moumie, who heads patient care for the national Ebola response coordination committee in Guinea, says, “We have informed the security services. If these thieves handle this blood, it will be dangerous. I can assure you, however, that the sample-transportation procedures will now be strengthened to avoid such disappointments.”
The Ebola epidemic of 2014 has claimed the lives of over 5,000 people so far, and is showing no signs of a slowdown. The highly contagious disease is spread by contact with infected bodily fluids including blood, feces, and vomit. Ebola also recently claimed the life of Dr. Martin Salia, who was transported to Nebraska for emergency treatment.
[Image Via Yahoo News]