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Ebola Virus Outbreak

Sierra Leone’s Leading Doctor Dies of Ebola Before ZMab Drug Arrives

Sierra Leone's leading doctor died of Ebola on Thursday, hours after the arrival in the country of an experimental drug that could have been used to treat him, the government's chief medical officer said. Victor Willoughby was diagnosed with Ebola last week after he treated a man with organ-related problems. The patient, a senior banker, was later diagnosed with Ebola and has since died.

The drug, ZMab, was transported in frozen form on a Brussels Airlines flight that arrived overnight. Before it could thaw, Willoughby's condition deteriorated, said chief medical officer Brima Kargbo. His death brings to 12 the number of Sierra Leone doctors to have contracted the virus. Eleven have died.

Dr. M'Baimba Baryoh, a surgeon at Connaught Hospital in Freetown who described Willoughby as a "very good friend", said Sierra Leone has a desperate need of more foreign healthcare workers as local staff are overstretched. "We've lost personal friends and colleagues we've worked with. It's extremely depressing and frustrating," he added. "You can talk to someone today and tomorrow they are Ebola-infected."

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— Reuters