Charlotte man has lost 7 relatives to Ebola in Africa

by: Blake Hanson Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

The deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa is claiming the lives of a Charlotte man’s family members who still live in the region.

Channel 9 spoke with Saah Kanda Saturday night. He's lived in Charlotte for 15 years, but in a 2-month period, lost seven family members to the Ebola outbreak.

“The first day we buried three persons,” he told Channel 9.

RESOURCES: Ebola Outbreak 2014 stories

Kanda left his home in Monrovia, Liberia to flee war, but the turmoil his family has had to go through over the past few months has been far worse.

“Really, we didn't know what was going on,” he said.

His brother, nephew, mother and sister were among the seven family members who died between May and July. Kanda said they didn't know it was Ebola until it was too late.

“Between my mother's death and my sister's death, I made sure they took some blood samples from my mother and it came back to be positive,” Kanda said.

Since the outbreak started earlier this year, more than 900 people have died in three West African nations.

Two Americans -- Dr. Kent Brantly and Charlotte missionary Nancy Writebol -- are in treatment for the virus at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Doctors say both are improving.

Kanda told Channel 9 he admires their sacrifice.

“I want to first of all commend them for the two volunteers who I can say volunteered their lives for our people,” he said.

Kanda said almost no one went to his mother's funeral because people are so afraid of the virus.

The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak an international health emergency.