Public Health England (PHE) can confirm that a UK healthcare worker who has had potential contact with the Ebola virus while working in Sierra Leone has been transported to the UK for assessment and monitoring.
The individual has not been diagnosed with Ebola, and does not currently have any symptoms. On arrival in the UK, the healthcare worker was transferred to the Royal Free Hospital for assessment. They will be monitored for any symptoms for the remainder of their incubation period, in line with standard procedures.
Professor Paul Cosford, PHE’s director for health protection and medical director, said:
The overall risk to the general public from Ebola remains very low. We are confident all appropriate public health actions have been, and will continue to be, taken to support this individual and to protect the public’s health. The courage shown by every volunteer, in helping those affected in West Africa and to prevent the spread of Ebola any wider, should be recognised.
The individual had a possible exposure to the virus in a frontline care setting, due to a needle stick injury breaching their personal protective equipment (PPE). The individual was brought to the UK on an EU medivac flight, arriving on Wednesday 25 February 2015. They will receive clinical assessment and will be monitored for the remainder of their incubation period, in line with Public Health England’s (PHE) standard procedures for returning healthcare workers who have had a PPE breach (Category 3).
PHE requests the individual’s rights to privacy continue to be respected. No further information will be provided by PHE and no further updates are planned at this time.
PHE is responsible for monitoring the health of individuals returning to the UK from Ebola affected countries. The purpose of PHE’s Returning Worker Scheme is to enable a consistent follow-up of workers on their return to the UK, to protect their health and that of the wider public. It operates in parallel to the screening arrangements that are in place for all travellers both on exit from the affected countries and on entry at key ports in the UK.
PHE exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health.
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