A mountain biker from Sierra Leone was reported to have gone missing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after his team mate was tested for the Ebola virus. Mohamed Tholley was due to compete in a time trial yesterday but allegedly failed to turn up, raising fears that he has absconded.
According to the Telegraph Unisa Deen Kargbo, chef de mission of the Sierra Leone team, said Mr Tholley may have gone missing to avoid having to fly home and face the disease.
He said: “Unfortunately one of our athletes has not turned up for his event and we do not know where he is. It is possible he is not coming back. The situation is very serious at home, and it is possible this is why he does not want to return. It is very bad there.”
The athlete is thought to have been rattled by the plight of cyclists Moses Sesay, also from Sierra Leone. Sesay was admitted to hospital and quarantined for four days after he fell ill with symptoms similar to those of Ebola. Although he has now been given the all-clear he was suffering from fever-like symptoms which are characteristic of the disease.
The cyclists said that a number of Sierra Leonean athletes are afraid to return home after the games end on Sunday. Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases known to man, and its fatality rate of ninety percent far outstrips that of the plague. There are no known cures and no vaccine, meaning that all medics can do is try to keep the patient hydrated and hope for the best.
It is so deadly that doctors treating Ebola patients wear special suits to avoid contracting the disease, but even then large numbers of medics have contracted it and died.
Moses Sesay said: “All of us are scared about going back… We have a three-month visa in our passports and if I have the opportunity, I will stay here until it ends. It is scary over there. My mother is a medical nurse so she may have to treat people. My wife is also doing work in the medical field.”
Despite Sesay’s comments, the suggestion that one of the Sierra Leone team had gone missing has caused some confusion in Scotland. Kackie Brock-Doyle, from Glasgow 2014, denied the claims at a press briefing this morning. She said: “We have not had a single report of any athlete that has gone missing. If someone didn’t turn up and they had gone missing, they would have reported it to us.
“If athletes have gone missing and their chef de missions are concerned they will talk to us and let us know.”
A West African official last night also denied that another member of the team had gone missing or that others had been hospitalised. However, the Ebola virus has a 21 day incubation period and so there may be athletes that are carrying the disease without knowing.
The news of this latest threat comes just days after the Foreign Secretary admitted Ebola was a major threat to the UK. Every General Practice Doctor in the country has been sent a list of symptoms and been told to keep an eye on anyone who has travelled to countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia recently.