Ebola kills Sierra Leone’s top doctor
The doctor leading Sierra Leone’s fight against the worst Ebola outbreak on record died from the virus on Tuesday, the country’s chief medical officer said.
The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows those of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighbouring Liberia.
The development highlighted the dangers faced by staff trying to halt the disease’s spread across West Africa, Reuters reports.
Ebola is believed to have killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February, according to the World Health Organisation.
The contagious disease, which has no known cure, has symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding. The fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent although Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it.
The 39-year-old Khan, hailed as a “national hero” by the Health Ministry, had been moved to a treatment ward run by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres in the far north of Sierra Leone.
He died less than a week after his diagnosis was announced, and shortly before President Ernest Bai Koroma arrived to visit his treatment centre in the northeastern town of Kailahun.
“It is a big and irreparable loss to Sierra Leone as he was the only specialist the country had in viral haemorrhagic fevers,” said the chief medical officer, Brima Kargbo.
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