Edinburgh hospital woman tests negative for Ebola

The patient was taken to the infectious diseases unit at the Western General. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The patient was taken to the infectious diseases unit at the Western General. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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A PATIENT admitted to hospital after returning from Ebola-hit west Africa has tested negative for the killer virus.

The patient, who, according to reports, is a woman, was being screened for infection at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital after reporting a raised temperature, NHS Lothian said.

But the hospital confirmed the negative test on Twitter, saying: “The patient admitted to the Regional Infectious Diseases Unit at the Western General Hospital yesterday has tested negative for Ebola.

“We have robust systems in place to manage patients with suspected infectious diseases and staff follow tested national guidelines.”

Melanie Johnson, director of unscheduled care at the health board, previously said the test was done as “a precautionary measure” and the patient was kept in isolation.

The suspected Ebola case in Edinburgh comes around 24 hours after Northampton General Hospital said it was treating a possible case.

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The hospital has since confirmed that the female patient, who has a history of travel to west Africa, tested negative for the deadly virus.

In a statement about the patient tested in Edinburgh, the Scottish Government said: “The individual was transferred by the Scottish Ambulance Service to hospital on Thursday afternoon. As the individual had recently returned from one of the West African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak and felt unwell, they were tested for Ebola and other infections as a precaution.

“A blood sample was taken and tested at the viral haemorrhagic fever testing facility in Edinburgh and found to be negative for Ebola.”

Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey is still being treated for Ebola at the London’s Royal Free Hospital.

The volunteer from Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, is in a stable condition after being taken off the critical list this week.

She remains in an isolation unit after contracting the disease while helping patients in Sierra Leone with Save the Children.

The charity is investigating how Ms Cafferkey came to be infected.

A sample from the Northampton Hospital patient was sent for testing to Public Health England (PHE), which said it was ‘’usual practice” to investigate all possible causes of the woman’s illness, after she initially tested negative for malaria.

A PHE spokesman said: “It is important to remember that the infection can only be transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids - such as blood, vomit or faeces - of an infected person.

“We have advised all front-line medical practitioners and NHS call handlers to be alert to signs and symptoms of Ebola in those returning from affected areas and following such advice we would expect to see an increase in testing.”

Meanwhile, an Australian nurse has been transferred to the UK for observation after potential contact with the Ebola virus while she was working in Sierra Leone.

Authorities said the patient has not been diagnosed with Ebola and has been moved as a “highly precautionary step”.

The nurse’s risk of developing the virus is said to be low. The nurse will be assessed in hospital and then monitored for the remainder of the 21-day incubation period of the disease.

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