UK Ebola Nurse Condition Improving

British Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted the disease in Sierra Leone, is showing signs of improvement and is no longer critically ill, the Royal Free hospital inLondon has said.

The Scottish public health worker remains in isolation at the hospital where she is receiving specialist care. She was diagnosed with Ebola after returning to Glasgow and was admitted to the city’s Gartnavel hospital on 29 December before being transferred to the Royal Free the following day.

Cafferkey, from Cambuslang in south Lanarkshire, had volunteered with Save the Children at the Ebola treatment centre in Kerry Town before returning to the UK.

The full statement from the hospital said: “The Royal Free Hospital is pleased to announce that Pauline Cafferkey is showing signs of improvement and is no longer critically ill.

“She remains in isolation as she receives specialist care for the Ebola virus.”

Ms Cafferkey has been treated with experimental drugs and has received blood plasma from another British nurse, Will Pooley, who recovered from an Ebola infection last year.

Will Pooley
Will Pooley

Cafferkey flew back to the UK via Casablanca in Morocco. Her temperature was tested seven times before she flew from Heathrow to Glasgow and she was cleared to travel. She later became feverish and followed advice given to her at Heathrow to contact local services and was admitted to an isolation facility at the Brownlee unit in Gartnavel hospital. After a blood sample tested positive for Ebola, Cafferkey was transferred in a military plane to the Royal Free on 30 December.

“Hopefully this is a sign that Pauline is well on her way to full recovery, although it might be some time until she tests negative for the virus, and is allowed out of isolation.”

Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, such as blood, vomit or faeces.

The virus has killed more than 7,800 people, almost all in West Africa, since it broke out a year ago.

The World Health Organization says the number of people infected by the disease in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea has now passed 20,000.