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Doctor being treated for Ebola dies in US hospital

November 17, 2014

Officials at a US hospital have confirmed that Dr. Martin Salia, a native of Sierra Leone, has died of Ebola. The 44-year-old was flown to the Nebraska medical facility over the weekend for treatment.

Martin Salia
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. DuBose

A second Ebola death was reported in the United States on Monday.

Dr. Martin Salia, a permanent US resident originally from Sierra Leone, passed away during the early morning hours local time from the deadly virus, according to officials at the Nebraska Medical Center.

Salia, 44, was brought to the Nebraska hospital on Saturday. The Omaha-based facility is one of just four US hospitals equipped to treat Ebola patients.

He "was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite out best efforts, we weren't able to save him," said the director of the biocontainment unit, Dr. Phil Smith.

"He was placed on dialysis, a ventilator and multiple medications to support his organ systems in an effort to help his body fight the disease," he added.

Salia contracted the disease while working as a surgeon in his native country, which has been one of the hardest hit by the epidemic in West Africa. However, it was not immediately clear how he came into contact with the virus, as he was not working in an Ebola unit.

According to a report by the news agency AFP, Salia's treatment had been delayed because had at first tested negative for the hemorrhagic disease despite showing symptoms. However, a second test conducted on November 10 came back positive.

The first Ebola victim in the United States was Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan. He died in October at a Dallas hospital.

Ebola has claimed more than 5,000 lives mainly in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia since December. While international efforts and local awareness have helped curb the spread of the deadly virus in some areas, health officials remain fearful of the disease and its catastrophic effect on national economies and security. They also fear its spread to other nations, such as Mali, where it appeared recently after an infected man from Guinea traversed the border.

kms/se (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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