Charity reviewing how Scots nurse caught Ebola
Pauline Cafferkey, a public health nurse from Fife, was diagnosed after returning from Sierra Leone, where she had been volunteering at the charity’s treatment centre in Kerry Town.
Ms Cafferkey, 39, remains in London’s Royal Free Hospital, where she is being treated with an experimental antiviral drug.
UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said yesterday that she remains critically ill, although her condition had stabilised on Sunday.
He said: “The whole country is proud of her. She stands for the very best of NHS values.”
Rob MacGillivray, the charity’s Sierra Leone director, said: “We are constantly reviewing our protocols and procedures to ensure staff working in the Kerry Town centre take all measures possible to prevent themselves becoming infected with Ebola.
“Because of this very serious event we have put in an extraordinary review to ensure that we do everything to leave no stone unturned to, as far as possible, identify the source of this infection.”
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The findings will be considered by a panel including independent health experts, which will make recommendations for any actions if necessary.
Ms Cafferkey, who works at Blantyre Health Centre in South Lanarkshire, was part of a 30-strong team of medical volunteers deployed to Sierra Leone by the UK Government in November.
An expert in biomedical science said yesterday that every passing day was potentially good news for her.
Dr Derek Gatherer, from Lancaster University, said: “The longer she survives the more possible it is that her body will have a chance to generate antibodies. With Ebola patients, the longer they survive, the more chance they have of recovery.
“The critical stage of the virus can go on for ten to 11 days. That’s both for patients who die and for patients who recover. She went critical about three days ago. I would estimate this means it could take a week or so for us to find out if she’s going to survive the critical stage.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has said Ebola is the “uppermost thing” on his mind following news of Mrs Cafferkey’s deteriorating condition.
At the weekend, he indicated there could be quarantine screening for health workers returning to the UK from west Africa if the government’s chief medical officer proposed such a measure.
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