AN AIRLINE passenger diagnosed with a rare and potentially deadly fever after he arrived in Scotland has been transferred to a specialist hospital for emergency treatment.
The 38-year-old man was
diagnosed with Crimean-Congo viral haemorrhagic fever, the first known case in the UK.
Yesterday, he was flown from Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital to a tropical diseases unit at London’s Royal Free Hospital in a special RAF isolation plane.
He arrived in Glasgow on Tuesday on Emirates flight number EK027 from Dubai. His name has not been released. However, it is known he started his journey in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and caught a connecting flight in the United Arab Emirates.
He fell ill shortly after
arriving in Scotland and was
admitted to hospital within three hours of landing. Health officials confirmed he remained critically ill last night.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said last night only one of three passengers who were sitting near the man on the flight had been in “close proximity” with the patient.
That person and a fourth passenger, who may have come into contact with the infected patient, will be monitored daily for the next two weeks as a precaution.
Both passengers are understood to be well and showing no signs of illness.
Health officials have urged all passengers on the plane to contact their doctor if they experience symptoms such as fever, headaches and aching limbs, but said the risk of them falling ill was “very low”. The incubation period is around two weeks, but symptoms usually appear in a few days.
Dr Syed Ahmed, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s consultant in public health, said: “The risk of person-to-person transmission is extremely low as it can only be transmitted by direct contact with infected blood or body fluids.
“It is not a virus transmitted through the air. As such, the risk to those who were in close contact with him is minimal. We have already made contact with all the patient’s close contacts and they are being followed up appropriately.”
Dr Ahmed said the disease was endemic in some parts of the world. It is spread by tick bites and can be passed from person to person through body fluids, including droplets from sneezing and coughing.
NHS 24 confirmed that
several passengers had already contacted it for information.
But health officials refused to issue any information about where the man had been sitting on the plane or confirm which class he had been travelling in.
The first symptoms of the fever are headache, high fever and vomiting. Other symptoms are red eyes, a flushed face, red throat, jaundice and red spots on the roof of the mouth.
In severe cases, changes in mood and sensory perception are common. As the illness progresses, large areas of severe bruising, nosebleeds and uncontrolled bleeding at injection sites can be seen.
The infected man is
now being treated in the high-security infectious diseases unit at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
The self-contained unit has its own filtered air supply and outlets to prevent anyone contracting airborne infections.