TIME Infectious Disease

Sierra Leone’s Chief Ebola Doctor Contracts the Deadly Virus

Sheik Umar Khan, head doctor fighting the deadly tropical virus Ebola in Sierra Leone, poses for a picture in Freetown, June 25, 2014.
Sheik Umar Khan, head doctor fighting the deadly tropical virus Ebola in Sierra Leone, poses for a picture in Freetown, June 25, 2014. Reuters Staff—REUTERS

Symptoms of Ebola include high fevers, diarrhea and vomiting

The top doctor fighting Sierra Leone’s deadly ebola outbreak has contracted the virus himself, the country’s government said Tuesday.

Sheik Umar Khan, 39, is leading an assault on the virus that the World Health Organization says has already claimed 632 lives—206 in Sierra Leone alone as of July 17.

The ebola virus is ruthless, with a mortality rate of 90%. Transmitted through direct contact with the body fluid, blood and infected tissue of victims, ebola can easily spread to the health workers working hard to fight it.

“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 in an interview with Reuters, before displaying the illness.

Khan is credited with treating more than 100 Ebola victims, Reuters reports, and is considered a “national hero” by the nation’s health ministry. The doctor has been moved to a treatment facility run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, according to a statement released Tuesday from the president’s office.

The outbreak began in Guinea this February, but has quickly spread across West Africa.

[Reuters]

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: July 23

1. The border isn’t the problem: A detailed, map-powered breakdown of the real story behind this immigration crisis.

By Zack Stanton in the Wilson Quarterly

2. With campaign finance rules in chaos, major corporations are setting a new standard with voluntary disclosures of political donations.

By Bruce F. Freed and Karl J. Sandstrom in U.S. News and World Report

3. It’s not about political correctness. Racist sports team names harm Native American youth.

By Erik Stegman and Victoria Phillips at the Center for American Progress

4. A simple move – replacing individual state bar exams with the Uniform Bar Exam – can bring much-needed reform to the legal profession.

By Baron YoungSmith in Slate

5. Computer modeling and big data are new weapons against disease-carrying insects.

By John Upton in Pacific Standard

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Disease Outbreak

Ohio Mumps Outbreak Spreads to 116

Most of the cases identified so far are at Ohio State University, but the illness has spread to other parts of Columbus, according to a state health official. Four people have been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak

The mumps outbreak in Columbus, Ohio, has worsened in recent weeks as the disease, once confined to Ohio State University, has spread to other parts of the city.

The number of confirmed cases of mumps in Columbus has quadrupled to 116, though most of those affected are still students and staff at the university, or their relatives. Four people have been hospitalized as a result of the outbreak. There have also been four reported cases of orochitis — swelling of the testicles that can cause infertility — and one case of potential deafness, Reuters reports. Complications from mumps can be permanent.

A disease that causes painful swelling of the salivary glands, mumps is extremely rare in the United States — reported cases have dropped 98% since widespread vaccination began in the 1960s. A health officials said between 10% and 20% of the population is vulnerable to mumps even if they have been vaccinated.

In 2006, another multistate outbreak centered on universities infected almost 6,600 people.

[Reuters]

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