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10th Sierra Leone Doctor Dies of Ebola

FILE -A healthcare worker dons protective gear before entering an Ebola treatment center in the west of Freetown, Sierra Leone,Oct. 16, 2014..

A 10th doctor from Sierra Leone died from Ebola, a day after two other Sierra Leone doctors had succumbed to the disease, a health official said Sunday.

Dr. Brima Kargbo, Sierra Leone’s chief medical officer, said Dr. Aiah Solomon Konoyeima had died of Ebola on Saturday. On Friday, Thomas Rogers, a surgeon at the Connaught Hospital, which is the main referral unit in the capital Freetown, and Dauda Koroma both died from the disease.

The details of how and where the doctors had become infected were not known.

Of the 11 Sierra Leonean doctors infected with the disease, only one has survived.

The three West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been hardest hit by the current Ebola outbreak, with hundreds of health care workers becoming infected with the disease.

Toll on health care system

The deaths have taken a tremendous toll on health care system in these countries. More than 100 health care workers have lost their lives in Sierra Leone, according to a report by the French news agency AFP.

Konoyeima worked at a children's hospital in Freetown, the capital, and tested positive for Ebola about two weeks ago, according to The Associated Press.

He was being treated at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center, which is staffed exclusively by local Sierra Leonean medical personnel, as compared to many other treatment units, which are run by international organizations or employ some foreign staff.

In the current outbreak, Ebola has sickened more than 17,500 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Of those, about 6,200 have died. It is currently spreading fastest in Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) set a 60-day goal on October 1 to isolate 70 percent of Ebola patients in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and ensure safe burials for 70 percent of bodies, which are highly infectious.

But in Sierra Leone, only 60 percent of patients were in isolation by December 1, said Palo Conteh, head of the government's National Ebola Response Center.

Material for this report came from AP and AFP.