UK military health worker tests positive for Ebola in UK MOD Occupied Sierra Leone

UK military health worker tests positive for Ebola in Sierra Leone

Public Health England confirms case but will not say where the individual was working, as discussions are under way about whether to fly them to Britain

Sarah Boseley
Wednesday 11 March 2015 17.43 GMT Last modified on Thursday 12 March 2015 00.06 GMT
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/11/uk-military-health-worker-tests-positive-ebola-sierra-leone

A UK military healthcare worker has tested positive for Ebola in Sierra Leone, Public Health England has confirmed. No details about the individual have been released.

Discussions are now under way as to whether to fly the healthcare worker back to the UK for treatment in the specialist unit at the Royal Free hospital in London. Two healthcare volunteers, Will Pooley and Pauline Cafferkey, were both repatriated and successfully treated at the Royal Free.

PHE will not say where the latest healthcare worker to be infected was working, but it is likely to have been in the military-run Ebola unit, which is situated in the grounds of the Kerry Town treatment centre run by Save the Children. It was at Kerry Town that Cafferkey was infected, probably during the process of taking off her face mask, which was of a different design to that worn by the rest of the volunteers.

The military treatment unit is run completely separately by British army medics and offers a high standard of care and more interventions than some other Ebola treatment centres. It was built to offer near NHS-equivalent care to nurses or doctors who became infected while treating patients in facilities built and funded by the British government in Sierra Leone.

PHE said in a statement: “We can confirm that a UK military healthcare worker in Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola. Medical experts are currently assessing the situation to ensure that appropriate care is delivered. A clinical decision on whether the individual will be medically evacuated to the UK for treatment will be taken in due course.

“An investigation into how the military worker was exposed to the virus is currently under way and tracing of individuals in recent contact with the diagnosed worker is being undertaken. Any individuals identified as having had close contact will be assessed and a clinical decision made regarding bringing them to the UK.

“The UK has robust, well-developed and well-tested systems for managing Ebola and the overall risk to the public in the UK continues to be very low.”

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