The announcements raised worries about the country’s fight against ebola, which has killed more than 1,400 people across West Africa.
The World Health Organisation said it was sending a team to investigate how the epidemiologist now undergoing treatment in Germany may have contracted the disease that kills more than half its victims.
“The international surge of health workers is extremely important and ... if health workers get infected and it scares off other international health workers from coming, we will be in dire straits,” said Christy Feig, director of WHO communications in West Africa.
Dr Sahr Rogers had been working in a health clinic in the eastern town of Kenema when he contracted ebola, said the Sierra Leonean presidential adviser, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo. Two other top doctors have already succumbed to the disease. have
Dr Rogers’ death marks another setback for a country recovering from years of civil war, where there are only two doctors per 100,000 people, say WHO.
The Senegalese epidemiologist who was evacuated to Germany had been doing surveillance work for the UN health agency, said WHO spokeswoman Ms Feig. The position does not usually involve direct treatment of patients.
“He wasn’t in treatment centres, normally,” she said. “It’s possible he went in there and wasn’t properly covered.”
WHO said it was pulling out its team from the eastern Sierra Leonean city of Kailahun, where the epidemiologist working with the organisation was recently infected.
Canada also announced it was evacuating a three-member mobile laboratory team from Sierra Leone.
WHO says more than 120 health workers have died in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria.
There is no proven treatment for ebola but a small number of patients have received the experimental drug ZMapp. The London hospital treating a British nurse infected in Sierra Leone said he is receiving the drug.
Many airlines have suspended services to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The UN warned this is making it increasingly difficult to bring in supplies. France has recommended its citizens leave Sierra Leone and Liberia, and Air France has temporarily suspended its three flights a week to Sierra Leone.