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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/23/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hailed as a national hero, doctor now clings to life

Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" in Sierra Leone by the health ministry, had been leading the fight to control the recent Ebola outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country. Tragically, the 39-year-old medic has now contracted the deadly disease.

The WHO says that of the 632 deadly Ebola cases, 206 people had died in Sierra Leone.

The WHO says that of the 632 deadly Ebola cases, 206 people had died in Sierra Leone.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/23/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Ebola, Sierra Leone, death, Sheik Umar Khan


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Khan, a Sierra Leonean virologist credited with treating more than 100 Ebola victims, has been transferred to a treatment ward run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, according to the statement by the president's office.

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo called Khan a national hero and said she would "do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives."

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"I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life," Khan said in an interview, showing no signs of ill health at the time.

"Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease. Even with the full protective clothing you put on, you are at risk."

Three days ago, three nurses working in the same Ebola treatment center alongside Khan died from the disease.

Ebola is a virulent disease where the internal body organs "melt away." The disease is 90 percent fatal and there is no known cure or vaccine.

The deadly tropical virus is now tearing through West Africa - the nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the most effected. More than 600 people have died from the illness, according to the World Health Organization. The outbreak has put an ever greater strain on the health systems of some of Africa's poorest countries.

The Ebola outbreak started in Guinea's remote southeast in February and has since spread across the region. Symptoms of the highly infectious disease are diarrhea, vomiting and internal and external bleeding.

The Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are centered in the country's eastern districts of Kailahun and Kenema.

According to the BBC's Umaru Fofana in the capital, Freetown, dozens of nurses at the government hospital in Kenema town - which treats all Ebola cases in the district - went on strike on Monday following the death of three of their colleagues of suspected Ebola.

They have since suspended their sit-down strike as the government looks into their demands, which include the relocation of the Ebola ward from the hospital and the takeover of its operations by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

The WHO says that of the 632 deadly Ebola cases, 206 people had died in Sierra Leone.

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