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Chief Ebola doctor contracts deadly disease

OUTBREAK: Ebola advocacy group Crusaders for Peace, spokesperson Juli Endee, right, educates people on the deadly virus in Paynesville, east of the city Monrovia, Liberia.

THE CHIEF doctor at the centre of the Ebola virus outbreak in Sierra Leone has now found himself infected with the deadly disease, the president's office announced.

Sheik Umar Khan, who is personally credited with treating more than 100 Ebola victims, has been admitted to a treatment ward at the heart of the outbreak in Kailahun.

Dr Khan was taken to an Ebola ward run by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, which has in recent weeks described the disease’s West African outbreak as “out of control”.

It is not yet known how he contracted the disease, but it is passed on through bodily fluids such as sweat and saliva.

Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that can cause its victims to bleed from the ears and nose, has turned up in Liberia and Sierra Leone and 539 deaths have been attributed to the outbreak, now the largest on record.

There is no vaccination, specific treatment or cure for Ebola, which has in the past killed up to 90 per cent of those infected. The mortality rate of the present outbreak currently stands at around 60 per cent.

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo has described Dr Khan as a "national hero" and has vowed to do “anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives”.

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