Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey’s case upgraded to ‘critically ill’

By Kate Hassett

Image: BBC
Image: BBC
A nurse who helped treat Ebola patients in West Africa is admitted to a specialist isolation unit after condition deteriorates.

A British nurse has been readmitted to hospital amidst growing concerns surrounding her health.

The nurse, who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone last year, had previously spent almost a month in isolation at the Royal Free Hospital at the beginning of the year.

She was discharged after doctors cleared her of the deadly virus.

Pauline Cafferkey, 39, then fell ill and was readmitted to hospital after doctors realised there was still Ebola prevalent in her system.

According to health professionals, bodily tissues can continue to harbour Ebola infection months after a patient has been cleared of the virus.

The hospital where Cafferkey is being observed in isolation, released a statement earlier this week saying: “We are sad to announce that Pauline Cafferkey’s condition has deteriorated and she is now critically ill.

“She is being treated for Ebola in the high level isolation unit…”

Ms Cafferkey volunteered in Sierra Leone , spending four weeks with Save the Children at is first Ebola treatment centre.
Ms Cafferkey volunteered in Sierra Leone , spending four weeks with Save the Children at is first Ebola treatment centre.


Cafferkey was admitted late last week after reporting to a GP who failed to assess the situation correctly, according to local news.

Dr Ben Neuman, a virologist at the University of Reading, told the BBC that Ms Cafferkey’s case was something completely new for the medical team treating her.

He also spoke about the how the virus could have lodged itself in a place where the normal immune system was unable to respond accordingly.

“We don’t know what Ebola looks like the second time around or after a big relapse like this. Right now, she has had this virus about three times as long as the other previous record holder.

“It is bad news, but it is not hopeless news. As long as she is still there, and as long as she is still fighting, there is a chance.

“And there is a chance that some of the new medicines that we have got against Ebola may be able to help a little bit.”

Ms Cafferkey’s contacts are all being monitored in relation to her diagnosis but doctors say it is unlikely anyone would have contracted the virus at this stage.

More to come.



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