Scottish Ebola Nurse 'Recovering'

October 23, 2015

British nurse Pauline Cafferkey who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa is recovering after the virus caused her to develop meningitis, doctors have confirmed.

Dr Michael Jacobs from the Royal Free Hospital in London, who has overseen the 39-year-olds treatment since she was evacuated to the UK last year, told a news conference that she became unwell with viral meningitis caused by her original Ebola infection.

Pauline was first admitted to the high level isolation unit (HLIU) at the Royal Free in December 2014 after contracting the disease while working in Sierra Leone. She was discharged in January this year after making a recovery.

Readmitted to Hospital

On the 8th October 2015 she was re-admitted to the HLIU after developing health complications and placed inside an isolation tent that allows medical staff to treat her without risk to themselves and the public. Last week her condition was described as 'critical'.

Dr Jacobs told the news conference: "I am really pleased that Pauline has made a significant improvement. She is inside the tent, she is still in bed, but she is talking freely within the tent. She has got a long recovery ahead of her and she will be with us for quite a while.”

After careful consideration Pauline decided she would take the experimental drug GS-5734, which is an anti-viral drug."

'Hopeful of a Full Recovery'

Dr Jacobs added: "I am hopeful Pauline will make a full recovery - maybe it will be with the help of this anti-viral drug, maybe it will be down to her own immune system. Over time I anticipate that the virus will be eradicated from her completely."

Pauline Cafferkey, from South Lanarkshire, contracted the disease while working for Save the Children at a treatment centre in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone. She became ill after returning to the UK.

She was the second Briton to recover from Ebola during the outbreak. William Pooley was treated in the same special unit after also being infected while working in Sierra Leone.

The Royal Free Hospital has an isolation unit and infection control protocols with specially trained staff ready to deal with Ebola cases.

SOURCES:

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Reviewed on October 22, 2015

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