Newcastle RVI Testing Potential Ebola Patients
14 March 2015, 06:00 | Updated: 14 March 2015, 08:05
A sixth person's been brought back to the UK after being potentially exposed to the Ebola virus.
The woman is being treated in a high-level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital (RFH) in London after being flown back to the UK yesterday in a RAF plane.
Four colleagues who came into contact with her have also been tested for the virus, but three were discharged from hospital today although they will continue to be monitored in line with Ebola response plans.
Public Health England (PHE) announced today that a sixth person has now been evacuated, who is not connected to the other five.
The healthcare worker was potentially exposed to the virus via a needle-stick breach of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worn when treating patients, but is not showing any symptoms of the disease.
They, like the four military personnel who came into contact with the infected servicewoman, will be subjected to assessments and kept under observation until they can be given the all-clear once the 21-day incubation period is complete.
They are being tested at the Royal Free Hospital (RFH) where the woman who tested positive for Ebola is also being treated.
Her colleague is being monitored at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
A PHE spokesperson said:
"The three discharged individuals will reside in appropriate private accommodation and will be monitored for any symptoms for the remainder of their incubation period, in line with standard protocols.
All appropriate support has, and will continue to be offered, to these six individuals. Our thoughts are with all the healthcare workers, and their families, affected at this time.
The UK has robust, well-developed and well-tested systems for managing Ebola. All appropriate infection control procedures continue to be followed to minimise any risk of transmission.
There remains no risk to the general public's health and the overall risk to the UK continues to be very low.''
UPDATED 13th March 2015
One of the two healthcare workers, transported to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle to be assessed for Ebola in Sierra Leone, has been discharged.
The patients have been assessed after having close contact with a colleague who was admitted to the special high level isolation unit at Royal Free Hospital in London yesterday with Ebola.
Two other military personnel identified as contacts of the diagnosed individual returned on the same plane and were assessed by the Royal Free Hospital yesterday.
They have now been discharged.
None of the four individuals identified as contacts have been diagnosed with Ebola.
The three people discharged will reside in appropriate private accommodation and will be monitored for any symptoms for the remainder of their incubation period, in line with standard protocols.
A sixth person, a UK healthcare worker in Sierra Leone, was identified as potentially being exposed to the Ebola virus via a needle-stick breach of their Personal Protective Equipment.
The individual was evacuated to the UK and is being admitted to the Royal Free Hospital for assessment.
They have not been diagnosed with Ebola and are not exhibiting symptoms of Ebola.
This incident is unrelated to the UK military healthcare worker evacuations.
Dr Jenny Harries, Ebola incident lead at Public Health England, said:
"All appropriate support has, and will continue to be offered, to these six individuals."
"Our thoughts are with all the healthcare workers, and their families, affected at this time."
"The UK has robust, well-developed and well-tested systems for managing Ebola."
"All appropriate infection control procedures continue to be followed to minimise any risk of transmission."
"There remains no risk to the general public's health and the overall risk to the UK continues to be very low."
UPDATED Friday 13th March 2015
Two people are being tested for Ebola at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.
In a statement, the hospital told Heart:
"The Royal Victoria Infirmary can confirm it is working with Public Health England to provide clinical assessment of two returning military healthcare workers who have potentially been exposed to the Ebola virus in West Africa.
This is a precautionary measure. Neither of these individuals has been diagnosed with Ebola and they are not showing any symptoms of the disease. They will be assessed at the hospital using expert guidance and a decision will be made if tests or treatment are required. The risk to other patients and wider public from Ebola is very low but all appropriate actions are being taken to protect the public's health."
UPDATED Thursday 12th March 2015
A hospital in Newcastle is standing by to receive two military workers being screened for Ebola in Sierra Leone should they test positive.
One British military worker has already been confirmed to have Ebola and is being flown back to the UK along with two of her colleagues who are due to undergo tests at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
But a further two Brits, feared to have contracted the killer disease, are undergoing tests in Sierra Leone and will be transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle hospital if they test positive.
A spokesman for Public Health England said:
"The Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle is standing by, ready to receive the patients if necessary."
"If a decision is made to transport them to the UK for further assessment, they will be taken to Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, in line with Ebola response plans. None of the four individuals has been diagnosed with Ebola."
If the patients are transferred to the North East hospital, they will be the first confirmed Ebola cases to do so.
Two young children were tested for the disease in Newcastle in November last year.
Public Health England, Department of Health, the Ministry of Defence and NHS England have confirmed that the UK military healthcare worker with Ebola has been 'medically evacuated' from Sierra Leone.
A spokesman said:
"The individual is being transported in a specially equipped military plane and will be treated in a high-level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
"Rapid tracing was undertaken in Sierra Leone to identify anyone that had been in recent 'close contact' with the diagnosed individual.
"This identified four military healthcare workers requiring further assessment."
"Two healthcare workers are returning on the same military plane today and will be assessed at the Royal Free Hospital."
"They will then be monitored for any symptoms for the remainder of their incubation period, in line with standard procedures.
"The two other individuals are currently being assessed in Sierra Leone, to inform a clinical decision regarding bringing them to the UK."
There have been more than 24,000 cases of Ebola since the outbreak started more than a year ago and nearly 10,000 people have died.