Tuesday, December 30, 2014 2:12 pm
A volunteer nurse who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone was being treated at an isolation unit in a specialist London hospital on Tuesday.
The woman, who returned Sunday from a treatment facility in Kerry Town in Sierra Leone run by the Save the Children charity, was transferred overnight from a Glasgow hospital in a Royal Air Force plane.
It is the first time someone has tested positive for Ebola in Britain and she is the second to be treated for the virus after fellow nurse William Pooley who made a full recovery earlier this year.
The world’s deadliest-ever outbreak, which has killed 7,842 people out of 20,081 cases, has been centred on Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
Meanwhile, another person returning from west Africa was being treated in Cornwall in southwest England and a second person, a healthcare worker coming back, was to be tested in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Around 100 have been tested for Ebola in hospitals across England so far this year, with all of them negative so far.
The new case is being treated at the Royal Free hospital in London, which has a high-level isolation unit ready to handle Ebola cases.
She had travelled to Glasgow from Sierra Leone on Sunday, via Casablanca in Morocco and health authorities are contacting the people she was travelling with.
The National Health Service worker was admitted to hospital in Glasgow on Monday after feeling feverish, and placed in isolation.
On Tuesday she was transferred by ambulance to Glasgow Airport where she was seen walking into a quarantine tent.
Surrounded by health workers in full protection suits, she was wheeled onto a military transport plane and flown to London, where she is being treated in a ward equipped with its own ventilation system to prevent contagion.
“This particular individual has symptoms of fever but she did not have the symptoms that make us worried about transmission before she was in the isolation facility in Glasgow,” said Professor Paul Cosford from the Public Health England agency.
“We are confident the risk to others is low,” he told BBC radio.
Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids.
Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency contingencies committee later Tuesday.
– New cases in Sierra Leone –
Sierra Leone’s deputy government spokesman Abdulai Bayratay said the nurse did not have Ebola symptoms when she left.
“The screening process she went through at the Lungi International Airport was of quality standard and as far as was detected, she left the country without any symptoms of Ebola,” he told AFP.
“It is an unfortunate development and we wish her a quick recovery and our regards go to her family and friends who have supported her in this great sacrifice to humanity.”
Bayratay said he did not feel the case would deter other international volunteer health workers from coming to Sierra Leone