Pauline Cafferkey Ebola infection ‘linked to visor’

The panel suggested that Pauline's use of a visor instead of goggles, was the most likely cause of her contracting Ebola. Picture: PA

The panel suggested that Pauline's use of a visor instead of goggles, was the most likely cause of her contracting Ebola. Picture: PA

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THE Scottish nurse who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone possibly caught the virus by wearing a visor and not goggles, an investigation has concluded.

The report by Save the Children said it cannot be completely certain how Pauline Cafferkey contracted Ebola but also said both pieces of equipment are “equally safe”.

The nurse, from Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire, had volunteered with the charity at the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone, before returning to the UK in December.

She spent more than three weeks in a London hospital, where she was critically ill for a time, but was released last month after making a full recovery.

The findings of an independent review into the possible causes of how the 39-year-old caught the virus where published by Save the Children yesterday.

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Justin Forsyth, the chief executive of Save the Children, said: “We will never be 100 per cent sure how Pauline contracted Ebola, but the independent panel found that it is most likely, though not conclusive, she acquired her illness while working at the Ebola Treatment Centre at Kerry Town in Sierra Leone.

“Working under such intense and challenging conditions, however, cannot be without risk.

“Although there is no conclusive evidence, the panel suggests that Pauline’s use of a visor, within a context geared to the use of goggles, was the most likely cause of her contracting Ebola.”

Visors are recommended by the World Health Organisation and are used by the Ministry of Defence, while Save the Children uses goggles.

The report said both visors and goggles are safe but there are slight differences in the type of clothing worn with each and in the protocols for putting them on and removing them.

Ms Cafferkey had been trained to use a visor before being redeployed to the Save the Children centre, but was not able to use their goggles “because she could not get them to fit properly”, the report said.

The report said she had acquired a visor which was the same as the one used in her initial training, conducted by the MoD, but that was not used by Save the Children.

Mr Forsyth said action might not have been taken quickly enough to identify any problems. He added that “lessons have already been learned”.

Britons who have helped to fight the outbreak will receive a medal for their bravery, Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday, as a mark of the “immense debt of gratitude” owed to them.

SEE ALSO:

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey ‘happy to be alive’

Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey’s Ebola diary

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