(HealthDay News) — An attack on an Ebola quarantine center in Liberia’s capital and the possible disappearance of a number of patients could be a major setback in efforts to contain and halt the outbreak of the deadly disease.

Twenty-nine patients were moved to another medical facility, according to Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah, BBC News reported. However, Jina Moore, a journalist for Buzzfeed who is in Monrovia, told BBC News that 10 patients were taken away by relatives on Friday night and 17 patients escaped during Saturday’s attack on the quarantine center.

The protesters who attacked the quarantine center in Monrovia’s West Point township were upset that Ebola patients were being brought in from other parts of the capital, according to Nyenswah. Other sources of information indicate that people in the mob believed Ebola is a hoax and wanted the quarantine center shut down, BBC News reported.

Halting the spread of Ebola in Liberia is the key to ending the outbreak, according to experts. There are high levels of ignorance about the virus in the country and many people are hesitant about cooperating with health workers. A senior police officer said that blood-stained mattresses, bedding, and medical equipment were looted from the quarantine center, which could spread Ebola throughout the West Point area. “This is one of the stupidest things I have ever seen in my life,” he told BBC News. “All between the houses you could see people fleeing with items looted from the patients.”

Health Highlights: Aug. 18, 2014