A British Nurse Who Contracted Ebola In Africa Last Year Has Been Hospitalised Again: Placed On Isolation

A British nurse who contracted Ebola is in a ‘serious condition’ in hospital today after falling ill with the deadly virus for a second time – ten days after she met Samantha Cameron in Downing Street.

Pauline Cafferkey, 39, was flown from Glasgow back to the Royal Free Hospital in north London by the RAF this morning, ten months after she first recovered from the illness.

The NHS nurse was wheeled from a jet at RAF Northolt by medics in hazard suits on a bed surrounded by a protective bubble before police closed roads so her ambulance could rush her to the nearby hospital in Hampstead.

She is said to have developed an ‘unusual late complication’ as a result of the original Ebola infection and tests have revealed that the virus is still lingering in her body.

Miss Cafferkey is now back in the isolation unit where she spent a month and became critically ill after being diagnosed with Ebola last December.

Confirming the relapse – and the seriousness of her condition – Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted: ‘Thoughts with Pauline Cafferkey today as she battles Ebola for the second time’.

Ten days ago she was given a Pride of Britain award for her humanitarian work and also met the Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron the following day at Downing Street, alongside other winners.

A spokesman for the Department of Health told MailOnline there was a ‘next-to zero risk’ of anyone at the Pride of Britain awards or Downing Street being infected.

He said: ‘She wasn’t symptomatic – she wasn’t displaying any symptoms of Ebola at the awards. She wasn’t ill then.
‘You can’t catch Ebola unless you are in really, really close contact with someone with Ebola.

‘Unless someone is displaying the symptoms you cannot catch it.’

Despite recovering from Ebola Pauline had complained about never having fully recovered after leaving hospital in January.

She said that her ordeal meant that her hair was falling out and she had problems with her thyroid.

The nurse was given indefinite leave from her NHS job but had returned to work at a health centre in Lanarkshire, just south of Glasgow.

Government sources have told MailOnline that Miss Cafferkey – who left the Royal Free in January – poses a low risk to the public. It is only spread by body fluids, such as blood, faeces and saliva.

The incubation period – the time between infection and the onset of symptoms – ranges from two days to three weeks.
Sources have said that she is unlikely to be contagious although a handful of people, likely to be her family, will be tested.

NHS Lanarkshire would not confirm if she had been treating patients recently and if they will also be checked for Ebola.

It is understood that the nurse had taken herself to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow on Tuesday after feeling unwell.

She was treated in the infectious diseases unit.

Officials then found traces of the virus remained in her body and she was then flown by the RAF from Glasgow to London overnight.

She landed at RAF Northolt at around 6am and was taken off a military aircraft in a bed surrounded by a plastic bubble.

She was then transferred by ambulance to the Royal Free and police stopped traffic to allow a quick transfer to the isolation unit.

Professor Paul Cosford, Medical Director at Public Health England said: ‘We can confirm that Pauline Cafferkey was transferred from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to the Royal Free Hospital in the early hours of this morning due to an unusual late complication of her previous illness.

‘She was transported in a military aircraft under the supervision of experts. She will now be treated in isolation in line with nationally agreed guidelines.

‘The Scottish health authorities will be following up on a small number of close contacts of Pauline’s as a precaution.

‘It is important to remember that the ebola virus can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person while they are symptomatic.

‘The risk to the general public remains low and the NHS has well established and practised infection control procedures in place.’

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: ‘My very best wishes to Pauline Cafferkey for a speedy recovery.’

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood said: ‘We have been working closely with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Health Protection Scotland to ensure Pauline has received all appropriate treatment and care throughout her stay at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and onward transfer to the Royal Free Hospital.’

She added: ‘Pauline is now being cared for in the best place possible, with specialists who have the most experience of looking after patients who have previously recovered from the Ebola virus.’

The NHS nurse had been a volunteer with Save the Children at the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerry Town Sierra Leone last year.

But she then fell ill when she returned to the UK just after Christmas, sparking panic because she had been on flights with hundreds of people.

After becoming gravely ill she survived after being given an anti-viral drug and is being transfused with blood plasma from a European Ebola survivor.

Emergency: Pauline landed at a nearby RAF base and then was taken to the Royal Free in London for special care this morning
Last week she was on television talking about her illness after picking up a Pride of Britain award.
She told ITV’s Lorraine show she would go back to Sierra Leone again to treat patients.

Explaining how she felt when she realised she had Ebola: ‘Outwardly I just tried to be stoical about everything but inside obviously, I was very frightened.

‘I knew it could have gone three ways it could have been mild, it could have been severe which it was with me and it could have been death the other outcome which I came very close to.’

She admitted afterwards that she had felt like ‘giving up’ as her condition became critical.Miss Cafferkey’s case sparked a review of Britain’s Ebola screening systems.She spent five weeks treating victims in Sierra Leone and then flew back to the UK.

It later emerged that officials at Heathrow had allowed her to board a connecting flight to Glasgow even though she had complained of a fever, testing her temperature seven times.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt then announced that officials must use more rigorous checks for doctors and nurses returning to the UK following volunteer work.

Before her case the screening only involved them having their temperature taken and filling-in a questionnaire about whether they have come into contact with patients.

It meant that anyone who was mildly unwell was made to undergo further checks even if their temperature seems normal.

The disease has no known cure and is unpredictable.The most recent outbreak of Ebola mainly affected three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

More than 28,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths have been reported by the World Health Organisation.

Nurse Will Pooley, from Suffolk, last year became the first Briton to contract Ebola while working out in Sierra Leone. Following his recovery he returned to the country to continue helping treat patients.

Nurse Pauline Cafferkey was later diagnosed with the illness after returning from healthcare work in West Africa.

British Army medic Anna Cross, 25, recovered from the disease after being treated with an experimental drug. All three were treated at the high-level isolation ward at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Transfer: The nurse (circled) was diagnosed with Ebola and was seen walking from an ambulance at Glasgow Airport as she was moved by military aircraft to London on December 30 last year

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One Response to A British Nurse Who Contracted Ebola In Africa Last Year Has Been Hospitalised Again: Placed On Isolation

  1. Prince October 9, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    poor lady I hope she gets better soon


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