Ebola-hit nurse 'critically ill' in London hospital

A 39-year-old Scottish nurse who is the first known person to have a serious recurrence of the deadly Ebola virus and has been in an isolation unit at a hospital here is now "critically ill", a hospital statement said on Wednesday.

PTI| Updated: Oct 14, 2015, 20:25 PM IST

London: A 39-year-old Scottish nurse who is the first known person to have a serious recurrence of the deadly Ebola virus and has been in an isolation unit at a hospital here is now "critically ill", a hospital statement said on Wednesday.

Pauline Cafferkey, who had contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone's Kerry Town while working in a Save the Children treatment centre, had been flown to the Royal Free hospital for treatment of an "unusual late complication" of the infection last week.

"We are sad to announce that Pauline Cafferkey's condition has deteriorated and she is now critically ill. She is being treated for Ebola in the high level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital," a hospital statement said.

Cafferkey was first admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow after feeling unwell and was treated in the infectious diseases unit.

She was transported from Glasgow to London in a military aircraft under supervision after her condition worsened last Friday.

"Pauline's condition is a complication of a previous infection with the Ebola virus. The risk to the public is very low," said Emilia Crighton, NHS director of public health.

"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," Crighton said.

Cafferkey worked in Sierra Leone at the end of last year and was diagnosed with the virus on her return to the UK in December.

She recovered following a month-long treatment in isolation at the Royal Free, the UK's specialist treatment centre for Ebola.

She contracted the disease while using a visor rather than goggles to treat patients at the facility, an internal investigation by Save the Children found.

While there have been reports of virus lingering in the eyes of survivors and of transmission through semen, Cafferkey is the first known person to have a serious recurrence of Ebola viral disease.

The WHO admits not much is known about the long-term implications after having Ebola.

More than 11,000 people in West Africa died during the recent outbreak.