SCOTS nurse Pauline Cafferkey is now in a “serious but stable” condition after being readmitted to hospital for treatment for Ebola.
Ms Cafferkey, of Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, was airlifted to the Royal Free Hospital, in London, on October 16 for treatment for “an unusual late complication” of the deadly virus.
Her condition deteriorated last week, with doctors announcing her to be “critically ill”.
A statement from the hospital yesterday said: “We are able to announce that Pauline Cafferkey’s condition has improved to serious but stable.”
Ms Cafferkey, 39, initially contracted the virus working as a volunteer for Save the Children in Sierra Leone last year.
A report from the charity in February said she was probably infected as a result of using a visor to protect her face rather than goggles.
It said she was unable to use the standard protective goggles because she could not get them to fit properly.
She spent nearly a month being treated in an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital before she was discharged in January.
Her sudden deterioration stunned scientists by its late onset and severity, dashing all previous beliefs about the long-term effects of the disease.
Survivors have experienced long-term health problems but it is believed that Ms Cafferkey’s resurgence did not present with classic Ebola symptoms.
Scientists have agreed that the virus could linger on in the bodily tissues long after the person has appeared to recover, with further work ongoing to see if it can be preserved in semen and fluid of the eye.
Leading virologist Dr Ben Neuman, of Reading University, said: “We still don’t know exactly what complications Pauline is experiencing but this is encouraging news.
“She is not out of the woods yet but her fighting spirit, combined with her body’s knowledge of Ebola, gives me great hope for her recovery. Fingers crossed she pulls through.”
Health officials are monitoring 65 people for having contact with Ms Cafferkey in the days after she fell ill.
Travel bans are in place for all of the contacts and 26 have been given an experimental Ebola vaccination.
The risk of contagion to the wider public is believed to be very low.
Ms Cafferkey’s family have claimed doctors “missed a big opportunity” to spot she had fallen ill with Ebola again after she was sent home from an out-of-hours clinic at the Victoria Hospital, in Glasgow.
Within days she had been rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for emergency treatment and then transferred by military helicopter to the specialist unit at the Royal Free Hospital.