Hospital tests patient for Ebola

Published: Tuesday 18th November 2014 by The News Editor

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A hospital patient has undergone testing for Ebola, health officials have confirmed.

Public Health England (PHE) said the man is being tested “as a precaution”, and they expect test results to show the man is not infected.

A spokesman said the man was displaying one of the early symptoms of Ebola, which has killed more than 5,000 people and infected more than 13,000 across parts of west Africa.

The spokesman said: “PHE can confirm it has received a sample for precautionary Ebola testing, involving an individual at Hereford County Hospital with a history of travel to west Africa.

“Ebola is considered very unlikely but testing is being done as a precaution. Based on the evidence-based risk assessment protocol, we are confident that all appropriate actions are being taken to ensure there is no risk to public health.”

The patient arrived at the hospital last night and had diarrhoea, the PHE said.

The spokesman said: “It is important to remember that, as yet, there has never been a case of Ebola diagnosed in the UK and the infection can only be transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids – such as blood, vomit or faeces – of an infected person.

“We have advised all frontline medical practitioners dealing with patients to be alert to signs and symptoms of Ebola in those returning from affected areas. Following such advice we would expect to see an increase in testing. Should there be a positive case in the UK, this information will be made available to the public.”

The first group of NHS volunteers being sent to the worst-affected parts of Africa yesterday began training at a specialist Ministry of Defence unit.

More than 50 volunteers have been put through the comprehensive nine-day training scheme, which aims to fully prepare them for conditions in the field.

On Sunday, David Cameron announced plans to invest a further £1.34 million in new research to fight the deadly virus.

The Prime Minister pledged the new funds after securing a commitment from leading world powers at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, to “do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak”.

Among the projects to be backed with the new money are a University of Westminster team developing a portable battery-powered device to test body fluids for the disease, an Oxford University study on predicting the geographical spread of the virus, and anthropological research to establish the best methods of working with local populations in preventing infection.

The UK has already committed around £230 million to the fight against Ebola and is taking a lead in healthcare operations in Sierra Leone where the disease has already spread.

Schools and health facilities for pregnant women are closing and vital vaccination programmes for children are halting because of the emergency.

Published: Tuesday 18th November 2014 by The News Editor

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