Press release: Healthcare worker with potential exposure to Ebola transported to UK for precautionary monitoring

Public Health England (PHE) can confirm that, as a highly precautionary measure, a UK healthcare worker who had potential contact with the Ebola virus while working in Sierra Leone, is being transported to the UK for assessment and monitoring. The individual has not been diagnosed with Ebola, does not currently have any symptoms, and their risk of developing the infection remains very low. On arrival in the UK, the healthcare worker will be initially assessed in hospital and then monitored for any symptoms for the remainder of their 21 day incubation period, in line with standard procedures for returning workers. Professor Paul Cosford, PHE’s director for health protection and medical director, said:

We are confident that all appropriate public health actions have been, and will continue to be, taken to support this individual and to protect the public’s health. The overall risk to the general public from Ebola remains very low. It’s important to remember, in choosing to volunteer this individual took a courageous decision to help those affected in West Africa, and to prevent the spread of Ebola any wider.


Notes to Editors

  1. The individual had a possible low risk exposure to the virus when taking off their Personal Protective Equipment in a front-line care setting. The individual is being brought to the UK on an EU medivac flight on Tuesday 17 February 2015. On arrival they will receive a clinical assessment and will be monitored for the remainder of their 21 incubation period in appropriate private accommodation, in line with PHE’s standard procedures for returning healthcare workers (Category 3). This means they will be required to self-monitor and record temperature and symptoms twice daily, and report to a designated person by telephone daily.
  2. Public Health England request the individual’s rights to privacy continue to be respected. No further information will be provided by PHE and no further updates are planned at this time.
  3. Public Health England is responsible for monitoring the health of individuals returning to the UK from Ebola affected countries. The purpose of PHE’s Returning Worker Scheme is to enable a consistent follow-up of workers on their return to the UK, to protect their health and that of the wider public. It operates in parallel to the screening arrangements that are in place for all travellers both on exit from the affected countries and on entry at key ports in the UK.
  4. PHE exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

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