A doctor who was treating Ebola patients contracted the deadly virus in Sierra Leon. In a statement released Tuesday (July 22), the country’s Minister of Health and Sanitation Miatta Karbo, confirmed that Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, 39, had been infected.
Khan has been taken to treatment center, and hailed as a hero for his work in what has been the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history. The virus has killed more than 600 people, and infected over 1,000 in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, over the last five months.
Treating patients makes health workers most “prone to catching the disease,” according to Karbo. “Even with the full protective clothing you put on, you are at risk,” he said.
NBC News reports:
The crisis is a “wake-up call,” warning of how budget cuts at global health organizations are weakening the ability to find, and fight, disease outbreaks in time, top health experts say. “This is an unusually difficult outbreak. It’s the largest and most complex outbreak that we have ever seen,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of the World Health Organization, said in an interview last week.
“When a crisis is big enough and complicated enough and bad enough, it overwhelms everybody.”
Dozens of nurses and other health care workers have been infected by the virus, and many have died despite efforts to save them with the only tools available – medical support, including hydration and pain killers. There’s no cure for Ebola and no vaccine to prevent it.
Khan, a virologist credited with treating more than 100 Ebola victims, is being cared for by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), Sierra Leone’s presidential office said in a statement.
Health minister Miatta Kargbo called Khan a national hero and said she would “do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives”.
Ebola is basically a terrible and deadly fever that causes diarrhea, vomiting, decreased functioning of internal organs, and external bleeding in some cases. Symptoms begin anywhere from two days to three weeks after contracting the disease, killing between 50 percent and 90 percent of those infected.
There is no known cure.
Hollywood introduced us to Ebola in Outbreak. Check out the trailer here, to horrify you/refresh your memory.
Watch a video on Khan’s case below.