Killer bug threat played down

The ebola virus
The ebola virus

HEALTH chiefs have moved to reassure the public after the first case of the deadly ebola virus hit Britain.

The British volunteer nurse who contracted deadly ebola in Sierra Leone is being treated at a specialist hospital after being evacuated to the UK.

He was named as William Pooley, 29, by Dr Robert Garry, an American scientist who worked at the same hospital as him in the west Africa country.

It is the first confirmed case of a Briton contracting the virus during the recent outbreak.

There is no cure for ebola and outbreaks have a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent.

However, health chiefs are telling Wiganers that the risk of contracting the virus is virtually zero.

Professor John Watson, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Public Health England in the North West said: “It is important to be reassured that although a case of ebola in a British national healthcare worker residing in Sierra Leone has been identified and is being brought back to the UK the overall risk to the public in the UK remains very low.

“We have robust, well-developed and well-tested NHS systems for managing unusual infectious diseases when they arise, supported by a wide range of experts.

“Our local hospitals have a proven record of dealing with imported infectious diseases and this patient will be isolated and will receive the best care possible.”

Mr Pooley tested positive for ebola after treating patients suffering from the virus at Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) in the south-east of Sierra Leone.

He was airlifted to the UK on a specially equipped C17 Royal Air Force jet, landing at RAF Northolt in west London at 9pm. He was then transported to the UK’s only high-level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London.