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Ebola Cured Nurse Now In Critical Condition
- Updated: October 15, 2015
A British nurse who made a remarkable recovery earlier this year after contracting Ebola has been admitted to the hospital and is in critical condition. Nurse Pauline Cafferkey originally contracted Ebola while helping other British medical professionals treat Ebola patients in Sierra Leone at the height of the most recent epidemic. She was among the first wave of volunteers dispatched from Britain.
It is suspected that a complication from the previous Ebola infection is responsible for her current condition. The exact nature of Ms. Cafferkey’s illness remains unknown, but it is being called life threatening. Doctors treating her have expressed amazement at the rapid deterioration of her condition.
She is now in a specialist treatment isolation unit at Royal Free Hospital in London. She was admitted to the hospital on October 9. She was originally treated for Ebola at the same hospital and was discharged in good health in January. Health authorities say that it is unlikely that anything could have been done to prevent Ms. Cafferkey’s relapse and it is unknown whether earlier intervention would have helped her current condition.
The treatment team at the hospital has cared for all of the British healthcare workers who contracted Ebola while helping during the most recent epidemic. The epidemic was responsible for the deaths of more than 11,000 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. The hospital has the sophisticated infectious disease isolation unit in the United Kingdom. It is the best place for Ms. Cafferkey to be treated and monitored.
The virus that causes Ebola can linger in the body for months after a successful treatment. While many of the infected do not display any serious ill effects or signs of infection, some develop long term health problems related to the infection, including rashes, infections, and eye problems. Low numbers of survivors have hampered research into the long term effects of contracting the disease.
Health authorities are now monitoring 58 people who have been in close contact with Ms. Cafferkey since her illness. Reports say that 25 of these people have been vaccinated against Ebola using a method successfully trialed in Guinea earlier this year. The health authorities say that the risk to the public is low and the current precautions are being taken to ensure the public remains safe.