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Doctor treating Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone now infected

Dr. Sheikh Umar Khan, a leading doctor in the fight against a deadly Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, has become infected with the virus, the government reported.
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   July 23, 2014 at 11:33 AM

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, July 23 (UPI) -- Dr. Sheikh Umar Khan, a doctor in Sierra Leone who has been actively working to control the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus, is now infected with the disease.

He has been hospitalized in Kailahun, considered the epicenter of the outbreak.

His infection is the latest among health workers attempting to treat the infected and prevent further spread of the deadly virus. Sierra Leone's Awareness Times reported that on Tuesday, "four popular and dedicated health workers attached to Ebola center located inside Kenema Government Hospital have lost their lives ..."

The news site also reported that health workers at the Kenema Ebola Center "allege Ministry of Health & Sanitation is 'incapable' of protecting the staff."

Sierra Leone's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo, agrees that more help is needed. "We have a limited capacity and our health workers are not well prepared," telling the World Health Organization, "The external assistance is very much appreciated."

Sierra Leone is among three West African nations most affected by the Ebola outbreak. Guinea and Liberia are also grappling with the deadly virus. Earlier this month, WHO established a coordination center in Guinea's capital, Conakry, to assist with resource mobilization to the infected areas.

As of July 19, WHO reported a total of 632 deaths and 1,048 cases from confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Ebola virus is spread by close contact and kills up to 90 percent of its victims. There is no known cure or antivirus.

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