Ebola tests for UK military worker

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Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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A second UK military healthcare worker has been transported back to England after likely exposure to Ebola via a needle-stick injury while treating someone with the virus in Sierra Leone, Public Health England said.

The healthcare worker arrived in the UK today and has been admitted to the Royal Free Hospital in London where they are undergoing an assessment.

They have not been diagnosed with Ebola and do not have symptoms, Public Health England added.

It comes after another British military healthcare worker was flown back to England for monitoring after suffering a needle-stick injury, also in Sierra Leone.

Officials stressed there is no risk to public health and said the two cases appear to be unrelated.

Professor Paul Cosford, Public Health England’s (PHE) director for health protection, said: “We can confirm that all the appropriate support is being offered to this individual and that strict protocols have been followed to transfer them back to the UK.

“We would like to emphasise that there is no risk to the general public’s health. Our thoughts are with both of the healthcare workers, and their families, affected at this time.”

Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Francois, said: “This is entirely a precautionary measure and our priority is the wellbeing of the individual involved. Their family has been informed and will receive all possible support from the Government.

“Although we have had two similar incidents within a short space of time, both appear to be unrelated. Our personnel receive the highest standard of training and briefing prior to deployment, including on the use of the specialised Personal Protective Equipment.

“On a visit to the country before Christmas I witnessed first-hand the bravery and commitment of the personnel who are doing such a fantastic job in Sierra Leone.

“Their efforts are deserving of the highest praise and we wish all the best for their two colleagues who are now in the UK.”

The second healthcare worker arrived back in Britain on an RAF flight and has been admitted to the UK’s only specialist high level isolation unit (HLIU) at the Royal Free Hospital.

They will be monitored for the remainder of their 21 days incubation period, in line with standard procedures for returning healthcare workers.

The hospital in Hampstead, north London, said in a statement: “We can confirm that a second UK military healthcare worker has been admitted to the Royal Free Hospital today following a needlestick injury while working in Sierra Leone.

“The individual has been admitted to the Royal Free Hospital for assessment. The individual is likely to have been exposed to Ebola virus but has not been diagnosed with Ebola and does not have symptoms.”

Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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