A British nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola after returning from Sierra Leone is still in a critical condition, but has stabilised, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says. He said Pauline Cafferkey was getting the “best possible care” at the Royal Free Hospital in London. He went on to say “she stands for the very best of NHS values” and that the whole country was proud of her. Mr Hunt said screening measures had been “strengthened” at airports.
Ms Cafferkey, a public health nurse, was diagnosed with Ebola in December after volunteering with Save the Children in Sierra Leone. She is being treated with experimental drugs and Mr Hunt confirmed she had received blood plasma from another British nurse, William Pooley, who recovered from an Ebola infection.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hunt said: “I have this morning spoken to Dr Mike Jacobs, an expert in infectious diseases who is leading the team of doctors and nurses caring for Pauline at the Royal Free. “As has been reported, Pauline’s condition has deteriorated to a critical state although she stabilised yesterday and continues to receive the best possible care.”
Ms Cafferkey was part of a group of NHS healthcare workers who volunteered in Sierra Leone
Screening. Ms Cafferkey had travelled home via Casablanca, Morocco, and Heathrow Airport in London. She was initially screened at Heathrow, but her temperature was normal. She told officials at the airport that she believed a fever might be developing and her temperature was taken a further six times within 30 minutes. It was normal each time and she was cleared to fly home to Scotland.