Ebola-infected British health worker receives treatment in London


The man, identified as William Pooley, is the first Briton who is infected with the Ebola virus. He was picked up in Sierra Leone on Sunday by a Royal Air Force cargo plane. The arrangement was decided by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond who authorized the man's repatriation in order to receive treatment.

Upon his arrival in Britain, 29-year old Pooley was transported to an isolation unit at London's Royal Free Hospital. It is a specialist isolation unit that is meant for patients with highly infectious disease which is the only one of its kind found in Europe.

There is no known cure for Ebola. The worst outbreak has so far caused the death of 1,427 people with most of them found in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. It has also killed five people in Nigeria.

William Pooley is a volunteer nurse who went to West Africa to provide health services to victims of the Ebola epidemic. Robert Garry, one of his colleagues in Kenema district, describes Pooley as a "remarkable young man and a natural leader."

Pooley was exposed to the virus a week ago and had shown symptoms of Ebola a few days later. "We understand that this patient, during the course of the work that he was carrying out, was exposed about a week ago and became unwell two or three days ago," says John Watson, Britain's Deputy Chief Medical Officer.

Ebola infected patients have the chance of survival if they receive treatment of the symptoms and get proper hydration. These symptoms, which appear two to twenty one days after infection, would include high fever, headache, joint and muscle pains, sore throat, weakness, stomach pain, and lack of appetite.

The virus is contacted when a person makes a direct contact with an infected person through bodily fluids. The disease is considered as one of the world's deadliest with a mortality rate to potentially hit 90 percent. So far, the current outbreak has a recorded 55 percent fatality rate.

Strict protective measures are being carried out to minimize the risk of transmission when the man was transported and treated by the hospital staff in Britain. A special tent, which has plastic and rubber that separates the medical staff from the man, was put up to ensure that the staff can still interact with the patient. Prof Jonathan Ball, a virologist at Nottingham University, said that the hospital will conduct immediate testing in order to make sure that all organs are functioning right.

"He really is in the best place and will have the best possible care," he said.

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