Scots Ebola nurse is cousin of Pat Bonner

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment assist an Ebola patient in Sierra Leone. Picture: Getty
Health workers wearing personal protective equipment assist an Ebola patient in Sierra Leone. Picture: Getty
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A SCOTTISH nurse being treated for Ebola is the cousin of former Ireland and Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner, it has emerged.

Pauline Cafferkey is at the Royal Free Hospital in London, where a spokeswoman yesterday said her condition is “as well as we can hope for at this stage”.

Ms Cafferkey’s grandmother and Bonner’s mother were sisters, according to reports yesterday.

The nurse, who returned from Sierra Leone on Sunday, is being treated with an experimental anti-viral drug.

Yesterday the Scottish Government said all passengers who shared a flight with her from London to Glasgow had been contacted, with no new cases of the virus reported.

Speaking to a newspaper in Ireland, one of Bonner’s neighbours said friends and family of the former Celtic goalkeeper would be praying for the Scottish nurse’s speedy recovery.

The neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “Packie would have been close to his Scottish cousins when he was in Glasgow. Everyone here in west Donegal will be praying for Pauline’s recovery.

“It is typical of her to volunteer to help in Africa. She’s a kind-hearted young woman.”

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On Wednesday, Dr Michael Jacobs, an infectious diseases consultant at the hospital, said he was pleased with how the 39-year-old Scottish nurse, who lives in Blantyre in South Lanarkshire, had so far responded to treatment, but it could be a week before doctors were able to fully assess her condition.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said Health Protection Scotland had now contacted all the passengers who flew with Ms Cafferkey from London to Glasgow on Sunday, while Public Health England said it had spoken to 85 passengers who travelled with her from Africa.

Ms Cafferkey was part of a team which travelled to West Africa with Save the Children.

The healthcare worker had flown from Sierra Leone via Morocco to Heathrow with 30 other returning volunteers. She was considered a high risk due to the nature of her work but showed no symptoms during screening.

However, while waiting for a connecting flight to Glasgow, she raised fears about her temperature and was tested six times in 30 minutes.

She was given the all-clear and flew to Scotland where, after taking a taxi home, she developed a fever and raised the alarm.

Professor Paul Cosford, director for health protection and medical director at Public Health England (PHE), said: “For Ebola to be transmitted from one person to another, contact with blood or other body fluids is needed.

“The individual involved [Ms Cafferkey] 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 contacting all passengers on the flight to the UK and providing a further level of follow-up for all those in the vicinity of the passenger to ensure anyone who feels unwell undergoes a medical assessment rapidly.

“Our colleagues at Health Protection Scotland are carrying out a similar exercise.”

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