In Brief

Ebola: charity to investigate how British nurse caught the virus

Save the Children will 'leave no stone unturned' as Pauline Cafferkey's condition worsens in London hospital

150105-ebola-nurse.jpg

Save the Children has launched a special investigation into how a British nurse contracted the Ebola virus while working for the charity in Sierra Leone, promising to "leave no stone unturned" in attempting to identify the source of the infection.

Pauline Cafferkey is in a critical condition and being treated in a specialist isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in north London. Yesterday, hospital officials said that the nurse's health was continuing to deteriorate despite her receiving an experimental anti-viral drug and blood serum.

The charity's Sierra Leone director, Rob MacGillavray, told the BBC that the investigation would go beyond a standard case review and scrutinise how protective equipment was used, as well as looking at person-to-person contact outside of the hospital where she worked.

"Because of this very serious event we have put in an extraordinary review to ensure that we do everything, leave no stone unturned, to be able to as far as possible identify the source of this infection," he said.

The 39-year old was working alongside a team of British healthcare workers treating infected patients in Sierra Leone's Kerry Town when she contracted Ebola.

She was first diagnosed after returning to Glasgow a week ago, via Morocco and London's Heathrow airport. She was screened for signs of the virus in London, but despite complaining that she felt she was developing a fever, she was allowed to continue her journey to Scotland after several negative tests.

Cafferkey is the first person to have been diagnosed with the disease in the UK, and the second Briton to be treated for Ebola. Nurse William Pooley made a full recovery from the illness last year after receiving the experimental zMapp drug. However, supplies of the drug have now run out.

Her case has raised concerns about Ebola screening at airports, which many argue is ineffective, and has led to calls to impose controversial quarantines for returning healthcare workers. 

David Cameron has said he would consider implementing them but the Chief Medical Officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, is believed to be "unconvinced" by such measures, according to the Daily Telegraph. Some fear that quarantines will deter British healthcare workers from volunteering in West Africa , where assistance is still desperately required.

The disease continues to spread in the region, with the World Health Organization recently reporting more than 20,000 cases of the virus and almost 8,000 deaths, mainly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, since the outbreak began.

Recommended

Barnsley displayed on Kim Kardashian’s behind
Kim Kardashian
Tall Tales

Barnsley displayed on Kim Kardashian’s behind

‘You’ll have to dip your hands in blood to get rid of me’
Today’s newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘You’ll have to dip your hands in blood to get rid of me’

Non-Covid excess deaths: why are they rising?
Ambulance workers at hospital
Why we’re talking about . . .

Non-Covid excess deaths: why are they rising?

Is the US Supreme Court fit for purpose?
US Supreme Court
Podcasts

Is the US Supreme Court fit for purpose?

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 July 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 July 2022

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?
Nato troops
Today’s big question

Nato vs. Russia: who would win in a war?

The Week Footer Banner