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5th doctor in Sierra Leone dies from Ebola

Health workers wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) pray at an Ebola treatment center run by Doctors without Borders in Monrovia, Liberia, on October 27, 2014.

ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - A doctor in Sierra Leone has died of Ebola - the fifth local doctor in the West African nation to die of the disease, authorities said Monday.

Dr. Godfrey George, medical superintendent of Kambia Government Hospital in northern Sierra Leone, died overnight, according to Sierra Leone's government.

George's death, which was announced by Dr. Brima Kargbo, Sierra Leone's chief medical officer, was a blow to efforts to keep desperately needed health care workers safe in a country ravaged by the deadly virus.

George had been driven to the capital, Freetown, after reporting that he was not feeling well.

Doctors and nurses have been particularly vulnerable to contracting Ebola, as the virus is spread through bodily fluids.

The World Health Organization says Ebola is believed to have killed more than 600 people in Sierra Leone.

Ebola is high on the agenda of a regional meeting of the World Health Organization that opened Monday in Benin, a West African nation that has not had any Ebola cases. WHO chief Margaret Chan said the Ebola epidemic has set back political stability and economic recovery in the afflicted countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.