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Sierra Leone: Another top doctor dies from Ebola


By CLARENCE ROY-MACAULAY and MARIA CHENG

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) - A leading physician in Sierra Leone's fight against Ebola has died from the disease, an official said Wednesday, as it emerged that another top doctor had been considered to receive an experimental drug but did not get it and later died.

Ebola has killed more than 1,000 people in the current West African outbreak that has also hit Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. Many of the dead are health workers, who are often working with inadequate supplies and protection. But despite the large number of deaths and infections among Africans, only two Americans and a Spaniard have received ZMapp, the unproven and experimental anti-Ebola drug made in the United States. That has stoked debate about ethics on who should be given the limited experimental treatment.

Doctors considered giving ZMapp to Sheik Humarr Khan, the chief doctor treating Ebola in Sierra Leone who had come down with the dreaded disease, but eventually decided against it, officials at the World Health Organization said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

WHO then tried to airlift Khan out of the country, but "his condition had deteriorated too much to be transported safely." He died July 29.

Doses of ZMapp for two Liberian doctors could arrive as soon as Wednesday in Liberia, according to Liberian Health Minister Walter Gwenigale. They would be the first Africans known to receive the treatment.

The California-based company that makes the drug, Mapp Pharmaceuticals, has said that its supplies are now exhausted, and it would take months to make even a modest amount.

Canada announced Tuesday it would donate 800 to 1,000 doses of its experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada to the World Health Organization.

"The trouble is, of course, with this very, very limited number of vaccines, who would you give that to?" said Dr. Gregory Taylor, deputy head of the agency.

He said the agency has been advised that it makes the most sense to give the vaccine to health care workers in Africa who are among the most vulnerable because of their close contact with Ebola patients

Meanwhile, yet another doctor in Sierra Leone, Modupeh Cole, died on Wednesday, according to Sidie Yayah Tunis, director of communications for the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. Cole, trained in the U.S., was one of the top doctors working in the Ebola isolation ward in Connaught Hospital in Freetown, the capital. He tested positive for the disease last week and was transferred to the eastern district of Kailahun, where Doctors Without Borders is running a treatment center.

Cole's sickness spread fear throughout the hospital where he worked, and staff there went on strike Friday and Saturday after learning that he had tested positive for the deadly disease. They returned to work on Sunday.

Both Cole's and Khan's deaths are a major blow to Sierra Leone's health system, which is struggling to cope with the deadly outbreak.

The outbreak, which was first identified in March in Guinea, has strained the resources of the poor West African countries it has hit and of the international community, which is struggling to mobilize enough qualified doctors.

There is no known cure or licensed treatment for Ebola.


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Lillian August 13 2014 at 2:42 PM

Let's send Fox News there, the Ebola will run away screaming.

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5 replies
bigshadyobama August 14 2014 at 1:00 AM

TOLD YA OBAMACARE WOULDN'T WORK

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kcarthey August 13 2014 at 1:27 PM

So many of the posts related to the two Americans who returned to the US for treatement seemed to overlook that doctors from throughout the world are actively working on doing somthing about Ebola. We are not alone and we are not the only non-African nation involved. Only the world's joining together will provide a solution and we must do this while not destroying our economies and sealing ourselves off from the world.

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1 reply
schlauger1 kcarthey August 13 2014 at 2:17 PM

A systematic addressing of this problem is paramount. If it's an experimental drug that shows promise, use it.

What is there to lose when it comes to an outbreak with no known cure? if I was in this situation, I'd say give what you think has the most promise of warding off my death.

Clinical trials that take years, shouldn't apply to something like this devastating disease. Experiment on the living and discontinue the monkey trials that take ever so long to bring to validation.
JMO.
And Pharma, the federal restrictions, take a hike on this one. Just do it.

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1 reply
dgoffnspector schlauger1 August 13 2014 at 3:48 PM

The FDA already has a protocol to address just that situation, the Expanded Access program, which is how the Zmapp was allowed to be used, without clinical trials, etc.

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YourFtr August 13 2014 at 2:10 PM

Obama not doing enough to facilitate producing even the experimental anti-ebola drugs; while he is distracted by anything and everything else on the nightly news and/or vacations...

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1 reply
bootsnchaps60 YourFtr August 14 2014 at 5:10 AM

Which pharma company does Obama own? How does he "facilitate" development of vaccines, throw federal dollars at it? Give the companies tax breaks? Just another anti-Obama shot.

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thefosz August 14 2014 at 12:19 AM

Does anyone remember what happen in Europe and the Middle East when the Bubonic Plague came there ? ? ? Government's changed over night. And, just think Ebola spreads far faster than the Bubonic Plague and is far more deadly.

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1 reply
Mike thefosz August 14 2014 at 6:22 AM

I don't really think anyone remembers it. Most of those people are probably dead by now.

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bd2thebone August 13 2014 at 2:48 PM

If this disease is so hard to spread how come doctors don't take the necessary precautions so they don't get infected.

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2 replies
TR by ML Neal... bd2thebone August 14 2014 at 12:15 AM

bd2thebone......does that stand for brain dead 2 the bone? Do you know how contagious viruses are spread? I mean do you?

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sayreba bd2thebone August 14 2014 at 4:15 AM

This virus is contagious!! They are taking precautions but they get infected eventually!!That is why they need a vaccine. Wow are you able to read??

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spdy65 August 14 2014 at 1:07 AM

Well how about making sure they have the right supplies to work with? All these professionals getting sick screams to me the focus should be on the conditions as well as the antidote. Get them the equipment they need!

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TR by ML Neal... August 14 2014 at 12:12 AM

There will never be a rush to find a cure for this virus because it only effects poor Africans in African nations. When it starts to show up in Europe, Asia and North America(USA/Canada) then something serious will be done.

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1 reply
Kma TR by ML Neal... August 14 2014 at 12:33 AM

I agree with you. I do believe the disease can be contained if they would just quarintine those who get it. The problem being by the time someone asks for help they have already exposed a village of others.

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msega17341 August 13 2014 at 2:27 PM

The pharmaceutical industry has bucks up the Kazoo, they sponsor promotional TV spots for "biologics" which are actually immune suppresive therapy but "biologic" has a safe herbal ring to it. This industry is playing fast and loose with the lives of people around the world
It is time someone at FDA grows some COHONES and does the non politically correct thing. the right thing

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1 reply
TR by ML Neal... msega17341 August 14 2014 at 12:14 AM

msega17341 get a grip on reality. Arr serious? How you be so inane?

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moore240 August 14 2014 at 4:18 AM

so lets bring it over to america,as if we dont have enough problems to solve here already,they cant wait to spread it over here

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