London: A 39-year-old Scottish nurse who had contracted the deadly Ebola in West Africa was on Friday readmitted to an isolation unit after she developed what appears to be a very rare reactivation of the virus at a hospital here.
Pauline Cafferkey has been flown to the Royal Free hospital for treatment of an “unusual late complication” of the infection.
She was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow yesterday after feeling unwell.
Cafferkey was transported from Glasgow early today in a military aircraft under supervision.
She recovered following treatment in isolation at the hospital, the UK’s specialist treatment centre for Ebola.
The Greater Glasgow health board said the virus was present in Cafferkey but that it was left over from the original infection.
A government source said the transfer to the specialist unit was a “highly precautionary process.”
“We can confirm that Pauline Cafferkey was transferred from the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow to the Royal Free London hospital in the early hours of this morning due to an unusual late complication of her previous infection by the Ebola virus,” the Royal Free hospital said in a statement.
The Ebola virus can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person while they are symptomatic so the risk to the general public remains low and the NHS has well-established and practised infection control procedures in place.
Cafferkey contracted Ebola while working in a Save the Children treatment centre in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone.
The nurse arrived at Heathrow on December 28 and complained that she was developing a fever. Her temperature was found to be in the normal range and she was allowed to fly on to Glasgow.
“Pauline’s condition is a complication of a previous infection with the Ebola virus. The risk to the public is very low.”
The World Health Organisation admits not much is known about the long-term implications after having Ebola.
More than 11,000 people in West Africa died during the recent outbreak.
Last week there were no new cases for the first time since March 2014.