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Scottish nurse flown to London over Ebola infection

A Scottish nurse who contracted the Ebola Virus while working in Sierra Leone has been flown back to a London isolation unit following an “unusual late complication” from the infection.

Pauline Cafferkey, 39, was flown by military aircraft from Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to the Royal Free London hospital this morning.

Ms Cafferkey previously spent almost a month in the isolation unit at the start 2015, having originally contracted the virus in December last year.

A statement from the Royal Free Hospital said: “She will now be treated in isolation in the hospital’s high-level isolation unit under nationally agreed guidelines.

The Ebola virus can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person while they are symptomatic so the risk to the general public remains low and the NHS has well established and practised infection control procedures in place.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said she was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on Tuesday after feeling unwell and treated in the infectious diseases unit.

Ms Cafferkey initially contracted Ebola while working as a volunteer with Save the Children at a treatment centre in Kerry Town, in Sierra Leone, she was diagnosed on 29 December last year after returning to Glasgow via London.

At the time, Dr Michael Jacobs, from the Royal Free’s infectious diseases team, said Ms Cafferkey had now completely recovered and was “not infectious in any way”.

He said Ms Cafferkey was treated with blood plasma from an Ebola survivor and an experimental treatment drug closely related drug to Zmapp.

Professor Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England, said the Scottish health authorities will be following up on a number of close contacts of Ms Cafferkey’s as a precaution.

This comes after the three West African countries at the centre of the Ebola epidemic recorded their first week with no new cases since the outbreak was declared in March 2014.

More than 11,000 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to figures from the World Health Organisation.

Picture courtesy of  Matt brown via Flickr

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