Ebola Screening To Be Reviewed After Nurse Case

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pauline cafferkey

Ebola screening protocols for travellers and healthcare workers returning from West Africa will be reviewed after a Scottish nurse developed the virus.

 Pauline Cafferkey fell ill hours after she was given the all-clear at Heathrow Airport, despite raising fears about her temperature with officials at the airport.

The public health nurse’s experience has prompted questions about the effectiveness of screening measures, with procedures at Heathrow branded “chaotic” by her colleagues.

Public Health England’s Director For Health Protection and Medical Director Paul Cosford confirmed Mrs Cafferkey had complained about her temperature but said she was cleared to fly on to Glasgow after repeated tests failed to detect signs of an “unusual” temperature.

Dr Cosford said: “Naturally, we are keen to learn whatever we can from the emerging details of this case and will be reviewing what happened and the screening protocols, to see if anything needs to be changed.”

Mrs Cafferkey was tested seven times altogether – including six times in the space of 30 minutes after raising concerns while waiting for her connecting flight to Scotland.

She took a taxi home from Glasgow Airport but raised the alarm later after developing a fever.

She was initially treated at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital before being transferred to a specialist unit at the Royal Free Hospital in north London.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies insisted screening was designed to raise public awareness about the virus and was not expected to detect every case of Ebola.

She said: “It does raise a question whether we should be more precautionary. The risk of raised temperature when she came back appears to have been very low.

“That’s why we look at what we do all the time to see should we have been more precautionary, is it in the public’s interest? Is it in the patient’s interest?

At a press conference said she was not aware of reports that Mrs Cafferkey may have attended a Christmas Day church service ahead of her return to the UK, but that a review in to how she contracted the disease will be carried out by the Department for International Development and Save the Children.

Mrs Cafferkey is the second Briton to test positive and the first to do so on UK soil after nurse William Pooley, 29, contracted Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone in August before getting the all-clear following treatment at the Royal Free.

Prof Davies said she could be given blood plasma donations from Mr Pooley to help her overcome the virus, as the experimental drug ZMapp, which was used to treat him, is not currently available.

Meanwhile, a healthcare worker in Aberdeen who fell ill following her recent return from West Africa has tested negative for the virus, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

The woman was taken ill on Monday while visiting Torridon in the Scottish Highlands and transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where she underwent tests.

A third patient from Cornwall who has also recently returned from an affected country is currently in isolation at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, Truro, undergoing tests for the virus which has swept through West Africa.

 

Source: Sky News

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