UK & World News

  • 30 July 2014, 11:30

Top Ebola Doctor Falls Victim To Deadly Virus

A doctor who was hailed as a national hero in Sierra Leone after risking his life to treat dozens of ebola patients has himself died from the disease.

Dr Sheik Humarr Khan had been hospitalised in quarantine but died on Tuesday, officials said.

Health workers are particularly vulnerable to ebola, which has killed more than 670 people since February.

International development organisation Plan International has said the outbreak is a "health crisis with global dimensions", while the European Union has increased its funding to fight the disease to 3.9m euros†(£3 million)

Two Americans are currently being treated for the disease in Liberia, where all football activities have been stopped in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly virus.

Texan GP, Kent Brantly, who also contracted ebola while treating patients with the virus, is said to be in a grave condition in Monrovia and "terrified" he will not survive.

A Canadian doctor has also put himself in quarantine in Liberia as a precaution after spending several weeks in the region treating ebola patients.

Azaria Marthyman of Victoria, British Columbia, was working with the Christian relief organisation Samaritan's Purse.

Samaritan's Purse and SIM USA have now decided to evacuate all non-essential personnel from Liberia as a result.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level Two travel alert, warning travellers to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to avoid contact with body fluids of people who might be affected.

The symptoms of the severe acute viral illness include sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and a sore throat.

This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and internal and external bleeding.†

The major West African carrier, ASKY, has stopped its flights to Liberian capital Monrovia and Freetown, Sierra Leone, because of outbreak.

The airline's decision came after Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old American of Liberian descent, died of ebola in Nigeria after taking several ASKY flights, travelling through an international hub.

Mr Sawyer, a top official for Liberia's finance ministry, had travelled to Nigeria from Liberia, via Ghana and Togo. He collapsed on arrival at Lagos airport.

It was the first record case of ebola in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country.

At the ministry where he worked, several senior officials have been placed under observation for three weeks.

Passengers at ASKY's hub in Lome, Togo, will also be screened by medical teams.

Arik Air had already cancelled flights in the region.