A burial team wearing protective clothing prepared the body of a person suspected to have died of the Ebola virus for interment, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on Sept. 28, 2014.
Christopher Black/WHO/Reuters

Fifth doctor in Sierra Leone dies of Ebola

Updated

A doctor in Sierra Leone died of Ebola overnight on Sunday, making him the fifth physician in the West African country to succumb to the disease.

The victim was Dr. Godfrey George, a medical superintendent of Kambia Government Hospital in the northern part of the country, The Associated Press reported.

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The largest Ebola outbreak in history has affected thousands of people throughout West Africa since March, when 49 cases were initially detected in Guinea. Nearly 5,000 people have died worldwide from the disease, and almost 10,000 cases have been identified, according to the World Health Organization, which notes that there is widespread under-reporting.

The epidemic in Sierra Leone has been ongoing since May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sierra Leone’s government implemented a national three-day lockdown in September to fight the Ebola virus. Police officers, soldiers, and thousands of volunteers went door-to-door, educating people about the dangers of the virus and identifying people who might have passed the disease to others. Ebola is spread only through contact with a symptomatic patient’s body fluids.

The condition of Dr. Craig Spencer, an emergency room doctor in New York City, was upgraded over the weekend to “stable.” He will continue to receive treatment in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center. He returned to the United States on Oct. 17 after treating Ebola patients in Guinea, and, a week later, tested positive for the disease.

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Thomas Eric Duncan was the first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the virus. Duncan, a Liberian man, later died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Oct. 8. Since his death, two nurses who treated him — Amber Vinson and Nina Pham — tested positive for Ebola. They were both deemed “virus-free” and released from hospitals last month.

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The virus has become a political talking point ahead of the midterm elections, as Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey initially quarantined Kaci Hickox, a nurse from Maine, after she returned to the United States from West Africa.

But, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll, most Americans said their upcoming midterm vote was influenced more by domestic issues — like the economy, health care, Medicare, and Social Security — than international issues, such as Ebola and fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria abroad.

Africa, Ebola, Health Care and Sierra Leone

Fifth doctor in Sierra Leone dies of Ebola

Updated