Ebola nurse flown to London hospital


Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey flown to London hospital

Image caption
Pauline Cafferkey is in hospital for a third time since contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone in 2014

Scots nurse Pauline Cafferkey is to be flown to London after being admitted to hospital in Glasgow for a third time since contracting Ebola.

The 40-year-old from South Lanarkshire is currently in a “stable” at Glasgow”s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

An RAF Hercules aircraft will later fly her to London where she will be treated at the Royal Free Hospital.

Ms Cafferkey was treated there twice in 2015 after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone the previous year.

The nurse, from Halfway, Cambuslang, contracted the virus while working as part of a British team at the Kerry Town Ebola treatment centre.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Ms Cafferkey was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital under routine monitoring by the Infectious Diseases Unit.

“She is undergoing further investigations and her condition remains stable.”

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Ms Cafferkey worked at Kerry Town Ebola treatment centre in 2014

She spent almost a month in isolation at the Royal Free at the beginning of 2015 after the virus was detected when she arrived back in the UK.

The nurse was later discharged after apparently making a full recovery, and in March returned to work as a public health nurse at Blantyre Health Centre in South Lanarkshire.

In October last year it was discovered that Ebola was still present in her body, with health officials later confirming she had been diagnosed with meningitis caused by the virus.

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Ms Cafferkey pictured in Sierra Leone in 2014
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Ms Cafferkey was previously treated at a specialist isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London

Bodily tissues can harbour the Ebola infection months after the person appears to have fully recovered.

Dr Derek Gatherer, lecturer in the Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Lancaster University, said it was “now becoming clear that Ebola is a far more complex disease than we previously imagined”.

He said: “The meningitis that Ms Cafferkey suffered from at the end of last year is one of the most serious complications of all, as it can be life-threatening.

“The other main rare serious complication is inflammation of the eyes (conjunctivitis and/or uveitis) which can lead to blindness, especially if supportive treatments are unavailable.”

Dr Gatherer said major post-recovery complications included “joint aches, headaches and general tiredness which can last for months”.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014, and rapidly became the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976.

Almost two years on from the first confirmed case recorded on 23 March 2014, more than 11,000 people have been reported as having died from the disease in six countries; Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the US and Mali.

The total number of reported cases is almost 29,000.

On 13 January, 2016, the World Health Organisation declared the last of the countries affected, Liberia, to be Ebola-free.