WASHINGTON (AFP) – A surgeon who was infected with Ebola while working in his native Sierra Leone died Monday, becoming the second patient in the United States to succumb to the haemorrhagic virus.
Martin Salia, 44, a legal US resident, was infected with Ebola while treating patients in his home country. The virus has killed thousands in West Africa since the start of the year.
Salia was flown to Nebraska for treatment on Saturday, but doctors said he was unresponsive by the time he arrived, struggling to breathe and his organs were failing.
“Dr Salia was suffering from advanced symptoms of Ebola when he arrived at the hospital Saturday, which included kidney and respiratory failure,” the Nebraska Medical Center said in a statement.
“He was placed on dialysis, a ventilator and multiple medications to support his organ systems in an effort to help his body fight the disease.”
Salia, who had been ill with Ebola for 13 days by Saturday, was also given donated plasma from a survivor of Ebola and the experimental drug treatment ZMapp.
Twelve hours after arriving in Nebraska, he went into complete respiratory failure and his blood pressure dropped. He died around 4am (1000 GMT) on Monday, his medical team said.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share this news,” said Phil Smith, medical director of the hospital’s Biocontainment Unit.
“Dr Salia was extremely critical when he arrived here, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him.”
Salia was the 10th person with Ebola to be treated in the United States, and the second to have died from the infection that causes vomiting, diarrhoea and often fatal bleeding.
In October, a Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, died at a Texas hospital of the virus.
The Nebraska Medical Center had previously treated a US missionary doctor, Rick Sacra, and a freelance photojournalist, Ashoka Mukpo, who were both infected in Liberia and survived.
When Salia first began to show symptoms of Ebola in Sierra Leone, a test for the virus came back negative, according to the Washington Post.
A second test, on November 10, was positive. Smith said it is not uncommon for an early test to come back negative, when the virus is less present in the