Very bad news: the doctor who was leading Sierra Leone’s fight against the worst outbreak on record has died from the virus.
The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows the deaths of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two US medics in neighbouring Liberia.
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 has no known cure. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and internal and external bleeding.
Khan, 39, hailed as a “national hero” by the health ministry, had been moved to a treatment ward run by the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières in the far north of Sierra Leone.
Damn. I heard him chat with a reporter while at the hospital last week, saying he was optimistic. I was hoping he would make it.
“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.
Very bad news.