Ebola nurse back in hospital 'in a serious condition'
Published 10/10/2015 | 02:30
A nurse who is being treated for a late complication of the Ebola infection is in a "serious condition", the hospital treating her has said.
Pauline Cafferkey was flown from Glasgow to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north-west London, in a military aircraft in the early hours of yesterday morning. The hospital said she was in a "serious condition" in the special unit.
Bodily tissues can harbour the Ebola infection months after the person appears to have fully recovered.
An earlier statement from the Royal Free said: "We can confirm that Pauline Cafferkey was transferred from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to the Royal Free London hospital in the early hours of this morning due to an unusual late complication of her previous infection by the Ebola virus.
"The Ebola virus can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person while they are symptomatic, so the risk to the general public remains low and the NHS has well-established and practised infection-control procedures in place."
People who have been in close contact with her are being monitored by Scottish health authorities as a precaution.
Ms Cafferkey (39) was diagnosed with Ebola in December after returning to Glasgow from Sierra Leone via London.
She spent almost a month in an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital before being discharged in late January.
A statement from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said Ms Cafferkey was admitted to the infectious diseases unit at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on Tuesday after feeling unwell.
Director of public health, Dr Emilia Crighton, said: "Pauline's condition is a complication of previous infection with the Ebola virus.
"The risk to the public is very low. In line with normal procedures in cases such as this, we have identified a small number of close contacts of Pauline's that we will be following up as a precaution."
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "My very best wishes to Pauline Cafferkey for a speedy recovery."
British Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt also tweeted his best wishes, saying: "Thoughts with Pauline Cafferkey today as she battles Ebola for the second time."