Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Ebola tests in Edinburgh for patient who recently returned from west Africa

Ebola virus Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, such as blood, vomit or faeces.

A woman who recently returned from west Africa is being tested for Ebola at a hospital in Edinburgh.

She was admitted to the Western General Hospital on Thursday after developing a fever.

However, there has been no confirmation that she is suffering from the deadly virus.

She was taken by secure ambulance to the hospital's infectious diseases unit and was being kept in an isolation unit.

Melanie Johnson, Director of Unscheduled Care at NHS Lothian, said: "A patient who recently returned to Scotland from west Africa has been admitted to our Regional Infectious Diseases Unit (RIDU) at the Western General Hospital after they reported a raised temperature.

"As a precautionary measure, and in line with agreed procedures, the patient will be screened for possible infections and will be kept in isolation.

"We have robust systems in place to manage patients with suspected infectious diseases and follow agreed and tested national guidelines."

False alarm

The suspected Ebola case in Edinburgh comes around 24 hours after Northampton General Hospital said it was treating a possible case.

The hospital has since confirmed that the female patient, who has a history of travel to west Africa, tested negative for the virus.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "We are aware that, as a precautionary measure, NHS Lothian has admitted a patient who has returned from West Africa.

"In line with agreed procedures, the patient will be screened for possible infections including Ebola and will be kept in isolation, again as a precaution.

"Scotland has a robust health protection surveillance system which monitors global disease outbreaks and ensures that we are fully prepared to respond to such situations."

Last month a Scottish nurse, Pauline Cafferkey, from South Lanarkshire, became the first confirmed UK case of Ebola after she returned from Sierra Leone where she had been working with the charity Save the Children.

Image caption Pauline Cafferkey was diagnosed with Ebola in December after volunteering work in Sierra Leone

She is being treated at London's Royal Free Hospital and was in a critical condition although she has since improved.

Ms Cafferkey, 39, had travelled home to Scotland via Casablanca, Morocco, and Heathrow Airport in London.

She was later placed in an isolation unit at Glasgow's Gartnavel Hospital after becoming feverish, before being transferred by RAF Hercules plane to London on 30 December, and taken to the Royal Free's specialist treatment centre.

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 8,400 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.

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