Ebola: Fifth doctor has deadly virus in Sierra Leone

More than 500 health workers have contracted Ebola, and about half have died

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The Independent Online

Authorities in Sierra Leone say another doctor there has tested positive for Ebola, marking a setback for efforts to keep desperately needed health-care workers safe in the West African country ravaged by the deadly virus.

Government chief medical officer Dr Brima Kargbo confirmed on Sunday that a fifth doctor in Sierra Leone had tested positive. The other four have died from the virus that has killed nearly 5,000 across West Africa.

The sick physician has been identified as Dr Godfrey George, medical superintendent of Kambia Government Hospital in northern Sierra Leone. He was driven to the capital, Freetown, after reporting he was not feeling well.

Doctors and nurses have been the most vulnerable to contracting Ebola, as the virus is spread through bodily fluids. Some 523 health workers have contracted Ebola, and about half of them have died.

France, meanwhile, said it was treating a UN employee who had contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone. France’s government announced on Saturday night that a UN employee had been evacuated there and was undergoing treatment in “high-security isolation” in the Begin Army Training Hospital in Saint-Mande, near Paris. It did not identify the patient.

France previously had taken in a French medic with Médecins Sans Frontières in September who had Ebola. She later recovered.

Meanwhile, Kaci Hickox, the US a nurse who successful fought Maine’s quarantine for health-care workers who have treated Ebola patients, said she had no option but to challenge how medical professionals were being treated.

In an interview with the Maine Sunday Telegram, Ms Hickox said she was fighting for the rights of other US medical workers who are trying to bring the deadly outbreak under control in West Africa.

After she arrived in Maine last week, state health officials went to court in an attempt to bar her from crowded public places. A judge ruled on Friday that she must continue daily monitoring of her health but can go wherever she pleases.

But Ms Hickox now says she will respect the wishes of town residents and avoid going into town during the illness’s 21-day incubation period.

Dr Craig Spencer, 33, the New York doctor with Ebola, whose case triggered a national debate over mandatory quarantines for returning health workers, was in a stable condition on Saturday.