Thieves in Guinea Probably Didn’t Mean to Steal a Bag Full of Ebola Blood

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Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

No doubt they thought it was something else,” said the Red Cross’s Youssouf Traoré of the three men who stole a bunch of blood samples taken from suspected Ebola patients. The Associated Press reports that the thieves stopped a taxi carrying nine passengers — one of them a Red Cross courier — on a rural road in Ebola-ravaged Guinea and demanded that everyone hand over their cell phones, cash, jewelery, and, for some reason, the cooler bag containing the blood.

In an appeal broadcast on national radio, the authorities urged the carjackers to return the samples, which were on their way to a testing center in the town of Gueckedou. “We have informed the security services. If these thieves handle this blood, it will be dangerous,” said Dr. Barry Moumie, one of the leaders of Guinea’s Ebola response effort. (He added that “The sample-transportation procedures will now be strengthened to avoid such disappointments.”) Meanwhile, Traoré told Reuters that he assumed the robbers will just dump the bag once they realize that it’s not full of “gold or diamonds.” Everybody loses!