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Ebola: third UK healthcare worker treated for virus

Military patient flown back to London by RAF

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Healthcare workers and patients at an Ebola clinic in Liberia. Photograph: Abbas Dulleh/AP

A British military healthcare worker working in Sierra Leone is in an isolation unit in a London hospital being tested for the Ebola virus. The individual, reportedly a woman, was flown back to Britain on a RAF plane after receiving a needle-stick injury while treating an Ebola patient.

Public Health England (PHE) confirmed that the individual had been admitted to the Royal Free hospital in London for assessment. “They are likely to have been exposed to the Ebola virus but, at this time, have not been diagnosed with Ebola and do not have symptoms,” it said. “The individual’s next of kin has been informed.”

The hospital treated British nurses Pauline Cafferkey and Will Pooley, who were both diagnosed with the disease. Professor Paul Cosford, PHE’s director for health protection and medical director, said: “Our thoughts are with this person, who has been courageous in helping those affected in west Africa, and in preventing the wider spread of Ebola. We have strict, well-tested protocols in place for this eventualityand are confident that all appropriate actions have been taken to support the healthcare worker and to protect the health of other people.”

More than 22,000 people have been infected with Ebola and 8,795 have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The World Health Organisation says there are signs of a slowdown in the number of cases being reported in Sierra Leone. In the week to 25 January there were 30 new cases in Guinea, four in Liberia and 65 in Sierra Leone.

However, in the western part of Sierra Leone, Ebola transmission remains intense and is considered by the WHO to be the “hot spot” of the outbreak. Aid workers are targeting the capital, Freetown, and neighbouring areas to break chains of transmission. They are increasing the number of beds to ensure that patients with clinical symptoms of Ebola are isolated and receive appropriate treatment.

There are currently around 600 British military personnel working in Sierra Leone.

It is thought the healthcare worker was based at the newly built Kerry Town clinic on the edge of Freetown.

The clinic, which opened in early November, includes an 80-bed treatment centre managed by Save the Children and a 12-bed centre staffed by British Army medics.

source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/01/ebola-third-british-healthcare-worker-treated-for-visus

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