Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, where the Ebola outbreak has killed thousands, are trying to implement severe controls to prevent the spread of the disease.

Authorities have ordered a stop to traditional funeral rites that involve touching relatives' bodies. The burial of loved ones is important in Liberian culture, making the removal of infected bodies for cremation all the more traumatic for surviving family members.

These powerful pictures by Getty Images photographer John Moore show the pain felt by families in Liberia as their loved ones are taken away for cremation.

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The body of Mekie Nagbe, 28, lies covered outside her home in Monrovia. The market vendor collapsed and died while leaving home to walk to a treatment centreJohn Moore/Getty Images
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Mekie Nagbe's sister watches as an Ebola burial team arrives to take her away for cremationJohn Moore/Getty Images
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Mekie Nagbe's sister throws a handful of soil towards the body of her sister as Ebola burial team members take her for cremationJohn Moore/Getty Images
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Sophia Doe sits with her grandchildren, while watching the arrival of an Ebola burial team to take away the body of her daughter for cremation in Monrovia. The children seen in the photo are daughters of the deceased. The woman died outside her home earlier in the morning while trying to leave her home and walk to a treatment centre, according to her relativesJohn Moore/Getty Images
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A woman grieves after Ebola burial team members arrived to take away the body of Mekie NagbeJohn Moore/Getty Images

Although Liberians normally bury their loved ones after death, the government has mandated that Ebola victims be cremated, as dead bodies are highly contagious.

The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or objects contaminated with infected secretions.

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Smoke rises as the bodies of Ebola victims are cremated at the government crematorium in Marshall, LiberiaJohn Moore/Getty Images
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An Ebola burial team collects the body of a four-year-old girl from a one-room apartment in Monrovia, LiberiaJohn Moore/Getty Images
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A member of an Ebola burial team collects the body of a four-year-old girl from a one-roomed house in MonroviaJohn Moore/Getty Images
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Religious posters and a mosquito net hang in the small house where an Ebola burial team had just collected the body of a four-year-old girlJohn Moore/Getty Images

There is no cure for Ebola, which has an incubation period of up to 21 days and starts with fever and fatigue and can eventually result in organ failure and massive internal bleeding.

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Relatives and neighbours try to convince an Ebola burial team not to take away the body of Nama Fambule for cremation. They said that she had been sick for more than a year with an undiagnosed illness and protested her body being taken away as an Ebola victimJohn Moore/Getty Images
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Varney Jonson, 46, grieves as the body of his wife, Nama Fambule, is taken away by an Ebola teamJohn Moore/Getty Images

Ebola symptoms generally appear between two and 21 days after infection, meaning there is a significant window during which an infected person can escape detection, allowing them to travel. However, they are not considered contagious until they start showing symptoms.

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An Ebola burial team dresses in protective clothing before collecting the body of a woman, 54, from her home in New Kru Town, MonroviaJohn Moore/Getty Images
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An Ebola burial team dressed in protective clothing carries the body of a 54-year-old woman from the bedroom where she died in the New Kru Town suburb of MonroviaJohn Moore/Getty Images
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An Ebola burial team carrying the body of a woman, passes a bucket of chlorinated water for hand washing in the New Kru Town suburb of Monrovia. Frequent hand washing is one of the main safeguards against contracting Ebola, which is transmitted through bodily fluidsJohn Moore/Getty Images

Around 40% of people who contract Ebola recover. Survival depends on the patient's immune response.

People who recover from Ebola develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

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Mohammed Jan Jallo, 40, smiles as he reads a letter from Doctors Without Borders giving him the all-clear. He said he works as a vendor in a market and has no idea from whom he contracted the diseaseJohn Moore/Getty Images
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Ebola survivor Sontay Massaley, 37, smiles as she is released from the MSF treatment centre in Paynesville, Liberia. In her hand she holds a bag containing her mobile phone, which had been disinfected. She spent eight days in the treatment centre. She has three children, all healthyJohn Moore/Getty Images
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A mother and child put their handprints on a piece of artwork made by Ebola survivors as they leave the Doctors Without Borders treatment centre in Paynesville, Liberia. Roughly 40% of people who come down with Ebola surviveJohn Moore/Getty Images
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A child, aged three, prepares to leave the Doctors Without Borders treatment centre in Paynesville after recovering from EbolaJohn Moore/Getty Images