A health care worker returning home to Scotland from Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with Ebola virus and is being isolated and treated, Scottish authorities said Monday.
It is the the first Ebola case to be diagnosed in Britain although British nurse William Pooley was evacuated from Sierra Leone and treated for infection earlier this year. Four people have been diagnosed with Ebola while in the United States and 10 have been treated for the virus in U.S. hospitals. Two have died. Patients also have been treated in Spain, Norway and other countries.
“The patient is a health care worker who was helping to combat the disease in west Africa,” the government of Scotland said in a statement on its website. “They returned to Scotland from Sierra Leone late last night via Casablanca and London Heathrow, arriving into Glasgow Airport on a British Airways flight at around 11.30pm.”
The patient, who hasn’t been identified, went to the hospital feeling unwell just a few hours later. “All possible contacts with the patient are now being investigated and anyone deemed to be at risk will be contacted and closely monitored. However, having been diagnosed in the very early stages of the illness, the risk to others is considered extremely low,” the statement says.
More than 20,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and 7,800 have died of it. Few cases have been carried out of West Africa.
"Ebola is a very difficult virus to transmit. If a person is symptomless they are unable to infect anyone else," said Nigel Brown, president of Britain's Society for General Microbiology.
"Public health officials have fully prepared for an Ebola case being imported into the U.K. and are ready to respond quickly and efficiently. We should be proud of the British healthcare workers and microbiologists who have volunteered to fight this disease in West Africa."
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