The United Kingdom is now free of Ebola virus disease after successfully treating an infected health-care worker returned to Glasgow from volunteer work at an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone.
The health-care worker, who had displayed no symptoms of Ebola while travelling home on Dec. 28, 2014 developed a fever and myalgia the next day and was placed in strict isolation at the specialist Brownlee Unit for Infectious Diseases on the Gartnavel Hospital campus.
Laboratory testing confirmed that the health-care worker had EVD and WHO was notified of the case. The patient was transferred for treatment in isolation at the Royal Free hospital in London Dec. 30 and remained there until fully recovered.
All passengers who travelled on the same flights as the health-care worker from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to Casablanca, Morocco, and then to London Heathrow and Glasgow were contacted and monitored for any symptoms of EVD for 21 days. By 18 January, they all had completed the 21-day follow-up period without developing EVD.
On 23 January 2015, the patient tested negative twice for EVD, and was therefore discharged from hospital on 24 January 2015. On 7 March 2015, 42 days had passed since the health-care worker had tested negative for the second time using RT-PCR testing.
The United Kingdom is therefore now declared free of EVD on the basis of the WHO guidelines.
WHO commended the United Kingdom for the measures put in place to identify and trace all potential contacts and to prevent further transmission of the Ebola virus. These measures included the exhaustive tracing of fellow air passengers and the implementation of all necessary preventive and control measures.
Source: WHO update, adapted.
Editor’s Note: The day after this story published, a British military healthcare worker was infected while working in Sierra Leone and flown back to the UK for treatment, arriving March 12.