Health care worker in Scotland confirmed to have Ebola

The Scottish government said Monday it confirmed a case of Ebola involving a health care worker who traveled to Glasgow from Sierra Leone.

The worker will be transferred to the Royal Free Hospital in London for treatment.

“Our thoughts are with this individual who, along with other NHS (National Health Service) and public health colleagues, has been doing a fantastic job saving lives,” Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said. “The UK and Scottish governments and English and Scottish health authorities are working together to make sure that this individual receives the best possible care. UK hospitals have a proven track record of dealing with imported infectious diseases. 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.”

The worker left Sierra Leone on Sunday and had been a passenger on flight AT596 from Freetown to Casablanca, flight AT0800 from Casablanca to London and then transferred at Heathrow to flight BA1478 to Glasgow.

The risk of infection to other passengers on the flights is considered extremely low.

“For Ebola to be transmitted from one person to another contact with blood or other body fluids is needed,” Public Health England (PHE) Director for Health Protection and Medical Director Professor Paul Cosford said. “The individual involved did not experience any symptoms consistent with the transmission of Ebola and as such, the risk that this infection will have been passed from the affected individual to others is extremely unlikely. However, as a precaution, PHE is following up all those in the vicinity of the passenger on the flight to the UK to ensure anyone who feels unwell undergoes a medical assessment rapidly. Our colleagues at Health Protection Scotland are carrying out a similar exercise for the passengers on the Heathrow to Glasgow flight.”

NHS England Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh said the NHS is prepared.

“The Royal Free Hospital has an international standard infectious diseases team with experience treating dangerous diseases including Ebola. Staff who treat these patients have volunteered in the same way as those working in West Africa – testament to their dedication and professionalism,” Keogh said.

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