Ebola claims hero doctor in Sierra Leone
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — A leading doctor who risked his own life to treat dozens of Ebola patients died Tuesday from the disease, officials said, as a major regional airline announced it was suspending flights to the cities hardest hit by an outbreak that has killed more than 670 people.
Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, who was praised as a national hero for treating the disease in Sierra Leone, was confirmed dead by health ministry officials there. He had been hospitalized in quarantine.
Health workers have been especially vulnerable to contracting Ebola, which is spread through bodily fluids such as saliva, sweat, blood and urine. Two American health workers are currently hospitalized with Ebola in neighboring Liberia.
The Ebola outbreak is the largest in history with deaths blamed on the disease not only in Sierra Leone and Liberia, but also Guinea and Nigeria. The disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a fatality rate of at least 60 percent.
Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the Liberia Airport Authority board, said police are now present at the airport in Monrovia to enforce screening of passengers.
“So if you have a flight and you are not complying with the rules, we will not allow you to board,” he said.
In a statement released Tuesday, airline ASKY said it was temporarily halting flights not only to Monrovia but also to Freetown, Sierra Leone. Flights will continue to the capital of the third major country where people have died — Guinea — though passengers departing from there will be “screened for signs of the virus.”
Passengers at the airline's hub in Lome, Togo, also will be screened by medical teams, it said.
The measures follow the death Friday of a 40-year-old American man of Liberian descent, who had taken several flights on ASKY, causing widespread fear at a time when the outbreak shows no signs of slowing in West Africa.
Patrick Sawyer, who worked for the West African nation's Finance Ministry, took an ASKY Airlines flight from Liberia to Ghana, then on to Togo and eventually to Nigeria where he was immediately taken into quarantine until his death.
His sister had died of Ebola, though he maintained he had not had close physical contact with her when she was sick.
The World Health Organization says the risk of travelers contracting Ebola is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, sweat or saliva. Ebola can't be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Russia’s missiles-to-Iran deal opens timely market
- Iraqi PM, visiting United States, rips Saudi airstrikes in Yemen
- Malaysia Airlines plane search not nearing end
- Report: Iraqi security forces kill Saddam aide al Douri, but DNA will confirm
- Replica of ship that aided American cause sets sail
- Fighting, gasoline shortage intensify Yemen crisis