PARENTS DEMAND SCHOOL IS DISINFECTED AFTER EBOLA VICTIM CAFFERKEY VISIT
Parents demand answers after discovering Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey was unwell when she visited East Kilbride school
PAULINE Cafferkey was fighting for her life in isolation in a London hospital just a day after she gave a presentation at Mossneuk Primary, now parents want answers.
15 OCT 2015 UPDATED 09:19, 15 OCT 2015
BY NICOLA FINDLAY
Frightened parents at Mossneuk Primary are demanding to know why Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey was allowed to visit the school just a day before she was readmitted to hospital in a critical condition.
It has since been revealed by the 39-year-old’s sister that Ms Cafferkey was feeling unwell prior to her appearance.
And now furious parents at Mossneuk are demanding answers from South Lanarkshire Council as to why it was allowed to go ahead.
The nurse is currently in isolation at the Royal Free Hospital in London fighting for her life after tests revealed the deadly Ebola virus was still in her body.
She was rushed to the specialist unit from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow after becoming unwell last Tuesday – the day after speaking to pupils at Mossneuk.
Ms Cafferkey spent almost a month in isolation at the beginning of the year after contracting the virus in December 2014 while working in Sierra Leone.
Worried parents also want to know why the school, which is now closed for the October week, remained open in the aftermath.
Currently, 58 people who came in to “close contact” with the nurse – including family and friends, healthcare workers and community contacts – are being closely monitored.
Twenty five of them, including lab workers, have been given an experimental vaccination, having had close contact with her bodily fluids.
A worried mum at Mossnuek told the News: “On Friday, my husband and I went to the school to speak with the public health officials. Along with two other parents, one of whom is a GP, we asked them how long the virus could stay live on a surface.
“They said up to three months and when we asked them where the microphone was that she’d used they said they didn’t know.
“The kids will be practicing for a harvest assembly pretty soon and the mic must be found and disposed of.
“Officials also said Ms Cafferkey wasn’t presenting symptoms on Monday and therefore, it wasn’t a concern.
“But her sister has since confirmed otherwise. The messages here are all inconsistent.”
She continued: “There have been calls from parents for the school to be closed during the 21-day incubation period. This has come from parents who are well informed, who work for the NHS, who are biomedical scientists trained on Ebola and GPs – not parents who have no measure of pragmatism.
“We cannot understand why the school was allowed to stay open all last week. We also want answers for why it took so long for the school and NHS to inform parents of this issue and why the news was drip-fed that actually the nurse had been feeling unwell before, during and after her school visit.”
On Tuesday (yesterday), SLC’s chief of education, Jim Gilhooly, said: “Senior health care experts have provided further reassurance that Ebola cannot be spread through ordinary social contact. We reassured parents and carers of children at Mossneuk Primary of this last week.
“The council, on being made aware of the circumstances of Pauline’s situation late on Thursday evening worked closely with senior NHS public health professionals to ensure parents were informed by letter.
“Health professionals from NHS Lanarkshire were at the school on Friday to provide advice and guidance to parents and staff and to reassure anyone with concerns.
“They deemed there was no reason to close the school.
A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Ebola is not spread through ordinary social contact, such as shaking hands or sitting next to someone. Nor is it spread through airborne particles.”