A Scottish nurse who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone has been flown to an isolation unit in London following an “unusual late complication”.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have confirmed that the virus is present in nurse Pauline Cafferkey but said it was left over from the original infection and is not thought to be contagious. Ms Cafferkey was diagnosed with Ebola in December after returning to Glasgow from Sierra Leone, via London.
The health board said she had been admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on Tuesday after feeling unwell and was treated in the infectious diseases unit. She has now been transferred from Glasgow to the Royal Free Hospital in London in the early hours of the morning by an RAF C-130 Hercules aircraft. This is the second time the RAF have played a pivotal role in this case.
Dr Emilia Crighton, NHSGGC director of public health, said:
“Pauline’s condition is a complication of a previous infection with the Ebola virus. The risk to the public is very low. In line with normal procedures in cases such as this, we have identified a small number of close contacts of Pauline’s that we will be following up as a precaution.”
The C-130 Hercules is a four engine military transport aircraft and has found uses in a variety of roles, including search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling and in this case, medical transport. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 2,500 have been produced, the aircraft will soon be replaced in RAF service with the A400M Atlas airlifter.