Leading Ebola Doctor Contracts the Disease

Sierra Leone virologist being treated by Doctors Without Borders
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2014 4:02 PM CDT
A woman walks near the Arwa clinic, center rear, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where the doctor contracted the virus.   (AP Photo/Youssouf Bah)

(Newser) – A doctor hailed as a "national hero" for his leading role in treating the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone now needs treatment himself, reports UPI. Dr. Sheik Umar Khan caught the disease—which kills about 90% of those infected—and was being treated at a facility run by Doctors Without Borders. There was no word on his condition. Three nurses at the treatment center where the 39-year-old Khan worked died earlier this week, reports Reuters. Since February, WHO has reported more than 1,000 cases and 632 fatalities in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. About 50 of those deaths were health-care workers.

Colleagues say Khan followed the protocol for protecting himself against infected patients with precision, although the nation's chief medical officer tells UPI that more help is needed for doctors and nurses. "I am afraid for my life," Khan himself told Reuters in a previous interview, demonstrating how he checked his clothes in a mirror for rips and tears. In a sign of the mounting frustration in the region, the brother of a 14-year-old boy who died set fire to the Health Ministry in Liberia today. (Click to read about how the virus may have been lurking for years before the latest outbreak.)

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