This is Sheik Umar Khan, 39, the head doctor fighting the spread of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone — and now he has contracted the deadly tropical virus as well, according to government officials cited by the Washington Post.
Staff / Reuters
Ebola causes people to develop hemorrhagic fevers and can cause people to bleed to death. It is fatal in 90% of cases, according to the World Health Organization.
Health workers carry the body of an Ebola victim in Kenema, Sierra Leone, in June. People contract the virus by coming into contact with infected bodily fluids from humans or animals, including bushmeat. Stringer / Reuters
The current outbreak has killed 632 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, according to WHO. At least 206 people have died in Sierra Leone alone. Khan helped save more than 100 victims of the virus, according to the Washington Post.
Government health workers prepare to administer blood tests for the Ebola virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on June 25. Stringer / Reuters
“I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life,” Khan told Reuters in June. “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,” Khan said. CELLOU BINANI/AFP / Getty Images
Khan is now at an Ebola ward in Kailahun seeking treatment. The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) runs the ward, having assumed control from the government to increase care.
Government health workers give blood tests to check for Ebola in Kenema, on June 25,. Stringer / Reuters
Before this outbreak, Ebola had not been a problem in this part of West Africa, leaving the region’s few hospitals and clinics ill prepared to treat, and stop, the disease.
Pictured here is the Arwa clinic in the capital city of Freetown on July 15. AP Photo/Youssouf Bah
The earlier that Ebola victims receive treatment, the better their chance of survival. A severe lack of medical resources and other barriers to to access have instead enabled the world’s worst Ebola outbreak to continue to fester.
Pictured here is Rose Komono, who recovered from Ebola, at a health clinic in April. Staff / Reuters