Ebola case confirmed in Glasgow hospital

A healthcare worker who has just returned from West Africa has been diagnosed with Ebola and is being treated in hospital in Glasgow.

The woman, who arrived from Sierra Leone on Sunday night, is in isolation at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital.

All possible contacts with the case are being investigated, including on flights to Scotland via Heathrow.

UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the woman would be taken to a specialist unit in London.

She will be flown from Glasgow and taken to the Royal Free Hospital in north London “as soon as we possibly can,” Mr Hunt said.

The hospital has a specialist isolation unit and treated William Pooley, the British nurse who contracted and recovered from Ebola.

Low risk

Mr Hunt said the government was doing “absolutely everything it needs to be” to keep the UK safe.

He insisted NHS processes “worked well” after the woman starting exhibiting symptoms.

The health secretary added: “We are also reviewing our procedures and protocols for all the other NHS workers who are working at the moment in Sierra Leone.”

Charity Save the Children confirmed the woman was an NHS health worker who was working with them at the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone.

The organisation’s humanitarian director, Michael von Bertele, said: “Save the Children is working closely with the UK government, Scottish government and Public Health England to look into the circumstances surrounding the case.”

At a news conference in Glasgow, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressed that the risk to the general public was very low.

She added that the patient was thought to have had contact with only one other person since arriving in the city, but that all passengers on the flights the woman took will be traced.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Apart from other passengers on the flights and obviously the hospital staff since this patient’s admittance to hospital, she, the patient is thought to have had contact with only one other person in Scotland since returning to Scotland last night and that person will also be contacted and given appropriate reassurance.”

Helpline

Alisdair MacConachie, of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “She’s being managed in an isolation facility by staff who are comfortable managing patients in such a situation. She herself is quite stable and is not showing any great clinical concern at the minute.”

NHS Scotland said infectious diseases procedures had been put into effect at the Brownlee Unit for Infectious Diseases at Gartnavel.

Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the bodily fluids – such as blood, vomit or faeces – of an infected person.

The patient returned to Scotland from Sierra Leone late on Sunday via Casablanca and London Heathrow, arriving into Glasgow Airport on British Airways flight 1478.

While public health experts have emphasised that the risks are negligible, a telephone helpline has been set up for anyone who was on the BA 1478 Heathrow to Glasgow flight. The number is: 08000 858531

The woman had been admitted to hospital early on Monday morning after feeling unwell and was placed into isolation at 07.50.

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.