Doctor with Ebola dies at Nebraska hospital

Doctor with Ebola dies at Nebraska hospital
Dr Martin Salia, a surgeon who contracted the Ebola virus while working in Sierra Leone, has died at a hospital in Nebraska.

The 44 year-old was taken to hospital in Omaha on Saturday, but passed away on Monday according to hospital officials.

"We are extremely sorry to announce that the third patient we've cared for with the Ebola virus, Dr. Martin Salia, has passed away," the hospital said in a statement, as reported by AFP. The other two patients who were treated at the facility were given clean bills of health.

The 44 year-old, who was a permanent US resident, contracted the virus while working at a hospital in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, according to his relatives. He was already suffering from advanced symptoms, including kidney and respiratory failure when he arrived at the Nebraska Medical Center, which is one of four US hospitals equipped to handle treatment of the disease, and has the largest bio-containment unit in the country.

While at the medical facility in Omaha, he was treated by Dr Phil Smith. Writing, on his Twitter page, the doctor explained that Salia had received a dose of convalescent plasma and ZMapp therapy. "We used every possible treatment available," said Dr Smith.

Salia's wife, Isatu Salia, said on Monday that she and her family were grateful for the efforts made by her husband's medical team. "We are so appreciative of the opportunity for my husband to be treated here and believe he was in the best place possible," Salia said, according to AP.

Salia, who was based in the state of Maryland, but spent a significant amount of time in Freetown, had originally been tested for the disease in early November. His test came back negative leading to jubilant celebrations and embraces from worried colleagues, the Washington Post reported. However, his symptoms did not go away and he took another test on November 10, which was positive forcing everyone who had been in physical contact with the 44 year-old into quarantine

“We were celebrating. If the test says you are Ebola-free, we assume you are Ebola-free,” said Komba Songu M’Briwa, who cared for Salia at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center in Freetown, the Washington Post added. “Then everything fell apart.”

In an interview in April, Dr Martin Salia talked about how important it was for him to work in the land of his birth and help others. He worked as a surgeon at theUnited Methodist Kissy Hospital in Sierra Leone.

“I took this job not because I want to, but I firmly believe that it was a calling and that God wanted me to. That’s why I strongly believe that God has brought me here…and I’m pretty sure and confident that I just need to lean on him because he sent me here. And that’s my passion,” he said in a video posted on YouTube.

Salia, who was originally from Sierra Leone, was the 10thpatient to be treated on US soil for the virus. He is the second person to have died in the United States from Ebola.In October, a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, died at a Texas hospital from the virus, which has killed thousands of people in West Africa.

A view of the emergency entrance at the Nebraska Medical Center Biocontainment Unit in Omaha, Nebraska, November 15, 2014.(Reuters / Brian C. Frank)

The current outbreak of Ebola is the worst on record. It has so far killed at least 5,177 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, as reported by Reuters.