While fears are diminishing and hopes of victory rising over the dreaded Ebola epidemic, a healthcare worker has been flown into the Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow following infection with the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.
The Ebola patient, a woman, was flown into the isolation unit of Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital on Sunday night via Heathrow to Scotland, and following the successful diagnosis of her Ebola condition, the hunt has been intensified to bring in all persons that may have had contact with her on her flight home and to the hospital.
And according to Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s Health Secretary, the patient will soon be transferred to a specialist hospital in London. She might be taken overnight by air ambulance to Royal Free Hospital, North London, which has a specialist isolation unit and which had successfully treated British nurse William Pooley.
According to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the woman will be moved “as soon as we possibly can” while the UK government is doing “absolutely everything it needs to be” able to keep the UK safe for all. He added that “We are also reviewing our procedures and protocols for all the other NHS workers who are working at the moment in Sierra Leone,” maintaining that the NHS was really up to the occasion when the patient starting showing symptoms.
Although the woman was thought to have had primary contact with only one other person since arriving Glasgow, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stated that all other persons aboard the passenger plane that brought her in will be traced and monitored, while adding that the risk of exposure to the public was very low.
“Apart from other passengers on the flights and obviously the hospital staff since this patient’s admittance to hospital, she, the patient is thought to have had contact with only one other person in Scotland since returning to Scotland last night and that person will also be contacted and given appropriate reassurance,” Sturgeon said. “Our first thoughts at this time must be with the patient diagnosed with Ebola and their friends and family. I wish them a speedy recovery. Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa and I am confident that we are well prepared.”
The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, affirmed that “It is important to be reassured that although a case has been identified, the overall the risk to the public continues to be 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. The UK system was prepared, and reacted as planned, when this case of Ebola was identified.”
Via Casablanca and London Heathrow, the patient arrived Glasgow airport aboard a British Airways flight, and to this end, a spokesman for British Airways assured that “We are working closely with the health authorities in England and Scotland and will offer assistance with any information they require. The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority and the risk to people on board that individual flight is extremely low.”