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Ebola Patient Being Treated At Nebraska Hospital Has Died

Health workers in protective suits transport Dr. Martin Salia, a surgeon working in Sierra Leone who has been diagnosed with Ebola, from a jet that brought him from Sierra Leone to a waiting ambulance in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday.
Nati Harnik

Dr. Martin Salia, an Ebola patient who was flown to a Nebraska hospital for treatment, has died, hospital spokeswoman Jenny Nowatzke says.

Salia was working as a general surgeon at a hospital in Sierra Leone. Last Monday, despite the fact that he was not working with Ebola patients, he was diagnosed with the virus.

Over the weekend, Salia, 44, arrived at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which has successfully treated other Ebola patients. He was described as "possibly sicker than the first patients successfully treated in the United States."

Nowatzke said Salia died this morning.

As we've told you:

"Last month, Dallas nurse Nina Pham — who became infected with Ebola after treating Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan — was declared Ebola-free and discharged from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention facility in Bethesda, Md. Days later, fellow nurse Amber Vinson, who also contracted the disease after treating Duncan, was released from Emory University in Atlanta.

"Duncan died from the disease on Oct. 8.

"Last week, Dr. Craig Spencer of New York, who was diagnosed with Ebola in Guinea, was also declared free of the disease and released."

Ashoka Mukpo, an NBC News photojournalist who contracted Ebola in Liberia, was treated and released from the Nebraska Medical Center back in October.

Update at 12:16 p.m. ET. Condolences:

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest expressed the White House's "heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones" of Salia.

"Dr. Salia leaves behind loved ones in the United States, his adopted homeland, and in Sierra Leone, where he was born," Earnest said in a written statement. "A general surgeon, Dr. Salia dedicated his life to saving others. He viewed this vocation as his calling, telling his fellow United Methodist Church members that he pursued medicine not because he wanted to, but because he firmly believed it was God's will for him. Dr. Salia's passing is another reminder of the human toll of this disease and of the continued imperative to tackle this epidemic on the frontlines, where Dr. Salia was engaged in his calling."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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