Three Ebola patients left a treatment centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo after their families demanded to take them to church, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Two of the patients later died, while the third returned to the centre in the city of Mbandaka.
This presents a new challenge for health workers battling to stop the spread of the contagious disease, says the BBC’s Anne Soy in DR Congo.
Ebola has no known cure.
Health officials fear it could spread rapidly in Mbandaka, a densely populated city of one million.
Isolation is the main way to keep the disease under control.
The WHO says 58 cases of Ebola have been recorded since the outbreak was declared on 8 May. There have been 27 deaths so far, with three deaths confirmed as Ebola.
The patients’ relatives came to the centre, which is run by medical aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), and demanded to take them for prayers, WHO officer Eugéne Kabambi told the BBC.