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Ebola orphans of Liberia

Debora Patta reports from Liberia where the children orphaned by Ebola have not only lost their parents, but they are often shunned by their families and friends
Debora Patta reports from Liberia where the c... 03:08

MONROVIA, Liberia - Those who catch the Ebola virus are not the only victims.

An abandoned building in Monrovia is the grim new home for these children orphaned by Ebola. Not only have these children lost their parents, but they are often shunned by their families and friends.

Touching these children could be lethal.

Nine-year-old Mercy Kennedy's mother died weeks ago. None of her neighbors wanted anything to do with her. Mercy ended up at a makeshift orphanage -- a blank stare on her face.

The center is run by Ebola survivors. Once recovered, they are immune to this strain of the disease and can touch the children.

Deacon David pulled through after a month long battle with the deadly virus. She told us caring for these rejected children has given her new purpose.

"I touch them they know that I really love them and we are still want (to be) together [sic]," she said. "They feel that we are are one when I touch them."

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The spread of Ebola fights the most basic human need to care for someone who is suffering or hurt

David holds two-week-old Sam Jefferson close to her. He's subdued; she tries to coax with a loving kiss.

Baby Jefferson is among the 2,000 Liberian children newly orphaned, casualties of an epidemic that keeps growing.

Last month, 4-year-old Pearlina watched her mother die in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Pearlina was led away with no one to look after her. But Gideon Klekleh was part of the ambulance team that day, and he couldn't forget the look on her face.

As the number of people infected with the Ebo... 02:06

"The child was vulnerable," said Klekleh. "And she had nobody to take care of her."

Nobody wanted her because of the stigma he said.

"She was just alone, crying in the street. It was very pitiful, nobody to take care of her. So I myself I felt sorry for her and I almost cry [sic]."

Klekleh decided to foster Pearlina at his village home just outside Monrovia. He is being supported by the "MoreThanMe" foundation. Klekleh says he has grown to love her.

"I love her, " he said. "I love her the best."

There is still a lingering stigma surrounding these children even after the 21-day incubation period is over.

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With the Liberian health care system stretched to the limit, American Katie Meyler's charity is using a donated ambulance to help rush victims to care centers. CBS News

Many of them remain in these care centers which do their best to try and find family members or place them in loving homes. But they're having mixed success because there is still a lot of fear surrounding children orphaned by Ebola.

Read Debora Patta's reporter's notebook on covering the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

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