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Update On Ebola In A British National Working In Sierra Leone

A British national healthcare worker residing in Sierra Leone, who has been diagnosed with Ebola virus disease, is being repatriated

Published on 24 August 2014

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by Public Health England, Department of Health and NHS England


London, England

Ebola Virus Virion
Ebola Virus Virion

The Department of Health, Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England can confirm that, following clinical advice, a decision has been made to repatriate a British national healthcare worker residing in Sierra Leone, who has been diagnosed with Ebola virus disease.

The patient is not currently seriously unwell and is being medically evacuated in a specially equipped C17 Royal Air Force (RAF) plane to RAF Northolt in the UK. Upon arrival in the UK, the patient will be transported to an isolation unit at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

The UK has well established and practised infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be strictly followed to minimise the risk of transmission while the patient is in transit and receiving treatment at the Royal Free Hospital.

Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. No cases of imported Ebola have been reported in the UK.

Professor John Watson, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said:

"It is important to be reassured that although a case of Ebola in a British national healthcare worker residing in Sierra Leone has been identified and is being brought back to the UK the overall risk to the public in the UK remains very low.

"We have robust, well-developed and well-tested NHS systems for managing unusual infectious diseases when they arise, supported by a wide range of experts.

"UK hospitals have a proven record of dealing with imported infectious diseases and this patient will be isolated and will receive the best care possible."

Dr Paul Cosford, Director for Health Protection at Public Health England, said:

"The patient is being transferred to the Royal Free Hospital for appropriate treatment in an isolation unit, with all appropriate protocols promptly activated by the Department of Health, PHE and NHS England. Protective measures will be strictly maintained to minimise the risk of transmission to staff transporting the patient to the UK and healthcare workers treating the individual.

"For Ebola to be transmitted from one person to another contact with blood or other body fluids is needed and as such, the risk to the general population remains very low."

Dr Bob Winter, National Clinical Director for Emergency Preparedness and Critical Care for NHS England, said:

"NHS England, together with PHE, the Department of Health and other key stakeholders has been working hard over the past few weeks to ensure any patient who contracts Ebola and needs to be repatriated to the UK receives the best possible care and treatment. The NHS has a special unit at the Royal Free in London which is well prepared to receive this patient."



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Posted 2014-08-24 16:10:00