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Worker not showing Ebola symptoms

A sixth person brought back to the UK after being potentially exposed to the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone is not showing any symptoms of the deadly disease, which has struck a British military healthcare worker.

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) in Hampstead, north west London, where the woman who tested positive for Ebola is also being treated.

Her colleague is being monitored at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

"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," a PHE spokeswoman said.

PHE Ebola incident lead, Dr Jenny Harries, 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."

Yesterday the World Heath Organisation (WHO) said the death toll from the Ebola epidemic had surpassed 10,000.

The outbreak has been raging for more than a year, with Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia the worst-affected countries.

But the epidemic has shown signs of slowing down in recent months and Liberia released its last Ebola patient from a treatment centre last week.

Up to 700 British military personnel are currently deployed in Sierra Leone to aid the Ebola effort.

Nurses Pauline Cafferkey and Will Pooley - the only other Britons to have tested positive for the disease - were also treated at the RFH and both made full recoveries.

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