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Aniru Conteh

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 29 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1078

An icon in the treatment of Lassa fever

In early 2000 Dr Bill Aldis, then the World Health Organization's representative in Sierra Leone, remembers getting a worried call from Geneva: “I've got an ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] staff member with suspected Lassa fever just evacuated from Kenema [in Sierra Leone]. What do I do?” Dr Aldis replied, “The best thing you could do is put him on an airplane and get him back to Kenema—there's a hospital there with the world's greatest expert in Lassa fever, a guy named Conteh…” Such was the reputation of Aniru Conteh, who ran the world's only Lassa fever isolation ward.

Born in 1942 in Jawi Folu, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, Aniru Conteh was the son of the local chief. At the age of 16 he left home to go to school in the country's capital, Freetown, where he went on to study chemistry and biology at …

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