UN health worker dies of Ebola in Germany: Hospital

AFP , Tuesday 14 Oct 2014

A UN health worker infected with Ebola has died in Germany, the hospital that had been treating him said Tuesday, in the country's first death from the virus.

"The Ebola patient died during the night in the St Georg Clinic in Leipzig," said a statement from the clinic in the eastern city.

"Despite intensive medical care and the best efforts by medical staff, the 56-year-old UN worker succumbed to the serious infection."

Local health officials said last week that the patient was Sudanese and had arrived in Germany from Liberia on Thursday.

He was the third person brought to Germany for treatment after a Senegalese expert, who was treated in Hamburg and released on October 4, and a Ugandan doctor being treated in Frankfurt, who were both infected in Sierra Leone.

The health worker's remains will be cremated "without delay", later Tuesday or Wednesday morning, said a Leipzig city spokesman.

The man, described by a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman in Geneva as a United Nations volunteer, was brought to Leipzig on a special flight in critical condition.

"We very much regret the death of the patient suffering from Ebola and extend our deep sympathy to the family and friends of the patient," Iris Minde, director of the clinic, said in a statement Tuesday.

The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 4,000 people this year, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and is spread through close contact with bodily fluids.

The WHO warned Tuesday that the death rate from Ebola, which is passed through contact with bodily fluids, has reached around 70 percent.

"Corpses are just as infectious" as patients, said Leipzig city spokesman Matthias Hasberg, adding that the corpse would be cremated.

The victim was a Muslim, he said, adding that although his religion did not allow for cremation, officials believed any other approach would be irresponsible for safety reasons.

"We are conscious of the problem," Hasberg said.

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