Head doctor at S.Leone Ebola clinic catches deadly virus

July 23, 2014

A doctor in charge of an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone has been admitted to hospital after contracting the deadly virus himself, the health ministry said Wednesday.

The news comes just days after three nurses from the same facility died of the disease, which has killed hundreds of people throughout west Africa and continues to spread.

Dr Omar Khan was in charge of the main Ebola treatment centre in Kenema, around 320 kilometres (200 miles) east of the capital Freetown, when he caught the virus.

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo called Khan a "national hero", praising his "tremendous sacrifice."

"I will do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives. I call on all Sierra Leoneans to remember him in their thoughts and prayers," he said.

Khan has been transferred to another treatment facility run the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the said.

"He is responding to treatment and is very cheerful and fine," Dr Abubakarr Fofanah, the deputy health minister, told AFP by phone.

The news of Khan's illness came as the health ministry confirmed the deaths of three nurses on Monday, describing them as "veterans who have spent over 15 years working in infectious diseases and have saved the lives of more than 100 people."

"The last few days have been challenging to us at the ministry. These people were a source of hope and inspiration," spokesman Yahya Tunis told journalists on Wednesday.

Nurses at the Kenema Ebola centre, located within a government-run hospital, are now calling for it to be relocated to another site and for MSF to take over the running of the facility, Tunis added.

Amid growing concern over the spread of the virus, activists have launched a campaign urging President Ernest Koroma to cancel an August trip to a US-Africa summit in Washington to deal with the crisis.

"He should cancel the trip and declare the Ebola outbreak a national emergency," said journalist Lamrana Bah, who is leading the campaign.

Ebola is a form of haemorrhagic fever which is deadly in up to 90 percent of cases.

It can fell victims within days, causing severe fever and muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhoea—and in some cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.

According to the latest figures from the health ministry released on Wednesday, 422 cases of Ebola have been reported in Sierra Leone, leading to 143 deaths.

In addition to Sierra Leone the virus has swept through Guinea and Liberia leaving more than 800 people dead, according to the World Health Organisation.

Explore further: Sierra Leone raises Ebola death toll

Related Stories

Sierra Leone raises Ebola death toll

June 2, 2014
Sierra Leone raised its death toll from the highly contagious Ebola virus on Monday, sparking fears that the deadly epidemic gripping west Africa is spreading.

Death toll in W.African Ebola outbreak rises to 467: WHO

July 1, 2014
The number of people believed to have died from Ebola in west Africa has risen sharply to 467, the World Health Organisation said Tuesday.

Sierra Leone reports two Ebola deaths, 12 cases

May 30, 2014
Health officials in Sierra Leone say there have been two deaths from Ebola and a dozen other cases of the deadly disease.

Sierra Leone steps up measures to tackle Ebola outbreak

June 20, 2014
Sierra Leone, one of three neighbouring west African countries facing an Ebola epidemic, has stepped up measures to fight the highly contagious and deadly disease, the health minister has said.

Sierra Leone raises Ebola death toll, confirms new cases

May 30, 2014
Sierra Leone on Friday raised its death toll from Ebola and doubled the number of confirmed cases of the virus amid fears the deadly epidemic gripping West Africa is spreading.

Sierra Leone warns of contact with Ebola infected

June 27, 2014
Sierra Leone warned Friday that it is a serious crime to shelter someone infected with the ebola virus.

Recommended for you

Nanoparticle vaccine offers universal protection against influenza A viruses, study finds

January 24, 2018
Researchers have developed a universal vaccine to combat influenza A viruses that produces long-lasting immunity in mice and protects them against the limitations of seasonal flu vaccines, according to a study led by Georgia ...

Leprosy's drug resistance and origin revealed by genome analysis

January 24, 2018
Leprosy is an infectious disease with gruesome symptoms. It damages the skin, peripheral nerves, the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes. Despite being curable with multidrug therapy, leprosy still persists in many developing ...

A new theory on reducing cardiovascular disease risk in binge drinkers

January 23, 2018
A new study shows that binge drinkers have increased levels of a biomarker molecule—microRNA-21—that may contribute to poor vascular function.

Flu infection study increases understanding of natural immunity

January 23, 2018
People with higher levels of antibodies against the stem portion of the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) protein have less viral shedding when they get the flu, but do not have fewer or less severe signs of illness, according ...

New long-acting approach for malaria therapy developed

January 22, 2018
A new study, published in Nature Communications, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlights a new 'long acting' medicine for the prevention of malaria.

Virus shown to be likely cause of mystery polio-like illness

January 22, 2018
A major review by UNSW researchers has identified strong evidence that a virus called Enterovirus D68 is the cause of a mystery polio-like illness that has paralysed children in the US, Canada and Europe.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.