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Ebola victim sparks international health scare

GRIEVING: Decontee Sawyer, with her husband, Patrick on their wedding day in 2008

THE WIFE of an Ebola victim who died last week in Nigeria on his way to a work conference, revealed that her husband was due back home next month.

Patrick Sawyer, 40, an American citizen, died on July 25 after becoming noticeably ill on a flight from Liberia, West Africa - where the worst ever outbreak of Ebola is gathering pace - to the city of Lagos in Nigeria.

His case sparked alarm across the globe because he was able to board an international flight while carrying the incurable disease – potentially infecting other passengers.

According to his wife, Decontee Sawyer, the 40-year-old, was planning to return home to Coon Rapids, Minnesota, to be reunited with his children for two of his daughters' birthdays in August.

Since his death, health workers have been trying to trace those who may have been exposed to him across West Africa, including flight attendants and fellow passengers.

His wife, 34, is said to be devastated at the thought of how close Sawyer came to returning home to the States for his daughters' birthdays carrying the dreaded virus.

“It's a global problem because Patrick could've easily come home with Ebola,” Decontee said to KSTP. “Easy. Easy. It's close, it's at our front door. It knocked down my front door.”

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, experts say.

Ebola can't be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.

According to the Mail Online witnesses say Sawyer, a Liberian Finance Ministry employee en route to a conference in Nigeria, was vomiting and had diarrhea aboard at least one of his flights with some 50 other passengers aboard.

Ebola can be contracted from traces of feces or vomit, experts say.

Sawyer was immediately quarantined upon arrival in Lagos and Nigerian authorities say his fellow travellers were advised of Ebola's symptoms and then were allowed to leave.

Decontee learned Sawyer was sick with Ebola on Thursday (July 24) and then on Friday (July 25) she was told her husband of six years had passed away from the virus.

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