Health

Ebola: Seventh British health worker sent home

Coloured transmission electron micro graph of a single Ebola virus, the cause of Ebola fever Image copyright Science Photo Library

A seventh UK healthcare worker has been flown back to the UK after suspected contact with Ebola.

The individual worked in the same facility in Sierra Leone as a US volunteer medic who recently caught the virus.

The UK patient currently has no symptoms.

They have been assessed and discharged from the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, but will be kept under close observation, officials say.

Public Health England stressed that the risk to the general public from Ebola remained "very low".

Dr Isabel Oliver, PHE's Ebola incident lead, said: "We are confident all appropriate public health actions have been taken to support this individual and to protect the public's health.

"The courage shown by every volunteer, in helping those affected in West Africa and working to prevent the spread of Ebola any wider, should be recognised."

Meanwhile, two other UK healthcare workers are currently being cared for in the Royal Free Hospital in London.

One of the Royal Free patients was diagnosed with Ebola while in Sierra Leone and was flown back to the UK on an RAF plane on Thursday, along with two colleagues who had come into close contact with her.

A further two close contacts were flown to Newcastle Royal Infirmary on Friday but have since been discharged.

The other Royal Free patient sustained a needlestick injury while caring for an Ebola patient in Sierra Leone. Being pricked by a contaminated needle is one of the most dangerous ways of being exposed to the virus which is passed in blood.

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