In Brief

William Pooley: British Ebola nurse 'desperate' to return to West Africa

Briton who survived Ebola plans to continue working in Sierra Leone and urges Cameron to take action

William Pooley, the British nurse who survived the Ebola virus after treating patients in Sierra Leone, has revealed plans to return to work in West Africa.

The 29-year old is thought to be the first Briton to be infected with the disease but told The Guardian that he was desperate to go back and help contain the virus that has now killed over 2,000 people in the region.

"It's the least I could do to go back and return the favour to some other people, even just for a little while," he said.

He also urged David Cameron, who sent him a personal message when he was ill, and Barack Obama to do more to address the crisis. "It's a global problem and it needs global level leadership," he said.

Speaking about his work in Sierra Leone, Pooley said: "To know that you're making a difference like that is an amazing privilege."

Pooley was treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London where he was given the experimental drug zMapp and has praised his doctors for the treatment he received, saying the facilities were incomparable to those in which he worked in Sierra Leone.

Describing the conditions in Kenema government hospital, Pooley said the wards were filthy and filled with corpses and blood and people "dying in quite unpleasant ways".

"There were not enough materials; there was no running water, no sheets or towels to clean a patient with," he added.

He explained that when he became ill specialists had destroyed his passport and other belongings out of fears of contamination, but said that his mother would be glad that he could not yet travel back.

"Obviously in a way we don't want [him] to [go back]", confirmed his mother Jackie, before adding that she "would feel very proud of him" if he did return to Africa. "It's not about us and it's not about Will, it's about what's happening out there," explained his father Robin.

Pooley says it would be "relatively safe" for him to return to Sierra Leone but it is unclear whether or not he is now immune to the virus or how long possible immunity could last.

However, Dr Bruce Ribner, director of the infectious disease unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta where two American Ebola patients recovered, said: "There is strong epidemiological evidence that once an individual has resolved an Ebola virus infection, they are immune to that strain." 

Scientists have discovered five strains of Ebola, the strain currently spreading across West Africa is the Zaire Ebola virus, according to All Africa

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