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Ebola test for Manchester patient

A patient at North Manchester General Hospital is being tested for Ebola.

Public Health England (PHE) said testing was being done as a precaution.

It said in a statement it had received a sample for Ebola testing relating to a patient presently at North Manchester General Hospital with a history of travel to West Africa.

The statement, issued last night, said: "Ebola is considered unlikely but testing is being done as a precaution, as is our usual practice in these circumstances. We are confident that all appropriate actions are being taken to protect the public's health.

"As a precaution the patient is being kept in isolation until blood test results are available.

"It is not possible for PHE to provide any details on individuals being tested prior to the test result being known."

A spokesman for The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: "A patient in North Manchester General Hospital is undergoing a series of tests following travel to West Africa, as a precaution one of which is for Ebola.

"Our specially trained doctors and nurses are used to treating such patients, who may have a history of travel to West Africa. The patient is currently in our specialist clinical infectious diseases unit where they are being cared for in isolation, away from other patients. Strict infection control procedures remain in place and we are confident that all appropriate actions are being taken by our staff to protect the patient, the public and our staff.

"The UK has some of the best public health protection systems in the world and the risk to the UK of Ebola still remains low. We, along with other NHS Trusts, have robust and well tested systems in place to deal with suspected Ebola cases to protect staff and the public."

The development comes after it was revealed that British nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, is no longer critically ill, according to the hospital treating her.

The Scottish public health nurse remains in isolation at London's Royal Free Hospital where she is receiving specialist care and which said she is showing signs of improvement.

The news suggests she has "turned a corner", although it is impossible to say how long a full recovery will take, according to Professor Hugh Pennington, one of Britain's leading microbiologists.

Ms Cafferkey was diagnosed with Ebola after returning from Sierra Leone to Glasgow and was initially admitted to the city's Gartnavel Hospital on December 29, then transferred to London the following day.

The nurse, from Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire, had volunteered with Save the Children at the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone, before returning to the UK.

Save the Children has launched an investigation into how she was infected, but admits it may never establish the exact circumstances.

She flew back to the UK via Casablanca in Morocco. Her temperature was tested seven times before she flew from Heathrow to Glasgow and she was cleared to travel.

She later became feverish and followed advice given to her at Heathrow to contact local services and was admitted to an isolation facility at the Brownlee unit in Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow, at 8am on December 29.

After a blood sample tested positive for Ebola, she was transferred in a military plane to the Royal Free Hospital by 8am on December 30.

The hospital said: "The Royal Free Hospital is pleased to announce that Pauline Cafferkey is showing signs of improvement and is no longer critically ill. She remains in isolation as she receives specialist care for the Ebola virus."

Prof Pennington said yesterday : ''It is excellent news and suggests she has turned a corner. The likely thing is that she will make a full recovery."

He added: ''Sometimes it can take several months. That will depend on the individual patient, you can't make predictions about that at all.''

Ms Cafferkey's health deteriorated in the new year and on January 3 the hospital announced her condition was critical.


From Belfast Telegraph