News story

Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies talks about the low risk of Ebola in the UK

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Watch Dame Sally Davies describe the low risk of Ebola in the UK.

The Chief Medical Officer talks about how difficult it is to catch Ebola, the preparedness of the NHS to deal with infectious diseases and what to do if someone returning from West Africa develops symptoms.


In the video she says:

  • Ebola is not spread easily
  • it is not spread through the air in coughs and sneezes
  • it can only be caught through very close contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids – like blood, vomit or diarrhoea
  • a person is only contagious when they are ill and have symptoms
  • Ebola cannot be caught through sitting next to someone who does not have any symptoms, when on a bus or plane, or touching a surface they have touched or even shaking hands
  • anybody worried about symptoms within 21 days of coming back from West Africa should call 111. More advice for the public is available on NHS Choices
  • UK hospitals are well prepared to handle infectious disease. Any patient would be cared for by specialist staff in an isolation unit
  • in West Africa, Ebola spreads for a number of reasons. Many of the areas have limited access to soap and running water and lack quality hospital care