Ebola Nurse Contacts Vaccinated

12 October 2015, 18:17 | Updated: 12 October 2015, 18:25

A total of 58 close contacts of a nurse who is being treated for a late complication of the Ebola infection have been identified, health officials have said.

Pauline Cafferkey, 39, was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow last week after feeling unwell.

She has since been flown to the Royal Free Hospital in London, where she is being treated in an isolation unit.

Ms Cafferkey, from South Lanarkshire, was diagnosed with Ebola in December after returning to Glasgow from Sierra Leone via London.

She spent almost a month in an isolation unit at the Royal Free before being discharged in late January.

A statement from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde today confirmed all close contacts of Ms Cafferkey since she became symptomatic have now been identified and 40 of the 58 people offered vaccinations as a precaution.

Officials confirmed 25 of them accepted the vaccine while 15 have either declined or were unable to receive it due to existing medical conditions.

The 58 people were described as a mixture of healthcare workers and friends, family and community contacts.

The statement said: ``All 58 close contacts are being closely monitored.

``This includes a period of 21 days since their last exposure where they will have their temperature taken twice daily, restrictions placed on travel and, in the case of healthcare workers, they have been asked not to have direct patient contact during this period.

``The 25 who were vaccinated will undergo additional monitoring because the vaccine is still being evaluated.

``It is important to stress once again that there is no risk to the general public.

``Ebola is not spread through ordinary social contact, such as shaking hands or sitting next to someone. Nor is it spread through airborne particles.''

The unlicensed rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine offered is currently being trialled in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and has been tested in more than 7,000 people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus infection in Guinea.

A statement from the Royal Free last Friday confirmed Ms Cafferkey had been transferred to the hospital ''due to an unusual late complication of her previous infection by the Ebola virus''.

It stressed: ''The Ebola virus can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person while they are symptomatic, so the risk to the general public remains low and the NHS has well-established and practised infection control procedures in place.''