Ebola scare in UK forced officials shut down hospital in Essex

Ebola: Guinea Health Agency declares 'pandemic' in February

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

A huge Ebola scare broke out on UK shores after a patient reportedly showed tell-tale signs of the sub-Saharan African disease, forcing part of a hospital in Essex to shut down on Wednesday night as medics were put on red alert. NHS bosses told The Sun that an area of Colchester Hospital had to be shut down overnight as medics feared a patient had brought the deadly virus over from abroad. While the hospital reopened its doors at 7am on Thursday after being deep-cleaned and is back up and running as usual, the incident has sparked alarm as there is currently a big outbreak in Uganda, which has killed 55 people. 

While the exact country the patient travelled from has not been revealed by the authorities, it has been implied that they may have come over from a country where Ebola is present. And according to reports, it will take a few days for the test results to come through. 

As well as being tested for Ebola, it is thought that they are also being tested for several other hemorrhagic fevers, such as  Lassa fever and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic fever, which were detected in Britain in February and March respectively. 

A spokeswoman for the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “Whenever people present into emergency or urgent care one of the questions asked is “Have you travelled abroad recently?” 

“If they answer and say yes, depending on the country they have travelled to, we follow a very rigorous process which includes isolation. That process involves making sure the area is protected and all the relevant steps, including deep cleaning.”


The hospital later said: “Thank you to all our patients and staff for their support yesterday afternoon when we had to temporarily close one clinical area at Colchester Hospital, the urgent treatment centre, to new patients. This was because of an infection control issue. The centre is now fully open.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has still not confirmed a domestic Ebola infection but said that sick people who have recently travelled are tested for a range of illnesses, and this is a common occurrence even if their symptoms are mild. 

A UKHSA spokesperson said: “They are tested based on what the symptoms are and the circumstances but we very commonly do panels of tests on people with very very minor symptoms such as a fever or fatigue.”

While Ebola cases have only ever been logged in Africa, two patients who contracted Ebola in West Africa were treated in the UK in 2014, but there has never been a case of the fatal virus being contracted within Britain. 

According the NHS website, a person infected with Ebola virus will typically develop a high temperature, a headache, joint and muscle pain, a sore throat and severe muscle weakness. Symptoms normally start suddenly, between 2 and 21 days after becoming infected.

The milder initial symptoms can then develop into far more severe ones, and can even causes internal bleeding as well as bleeding from the ears, eyes, nose or mouth. Ebola is spread via contact with the blood, body fluids or organs of a person or animal with the infection.

While fatality rates vary depending on the circumstances of an outbreak but the disease, it normally kills around 50 percent of people it infects, making it a seriously deadly disease. Last month, the UKSHA  said it was monitoring the Ebola in Uganda, but there were no confirmed cases in the UK at that time.

The agency previously warned: “A public health alert has been issued to urge healthcare professionals to be vigilant to the symptoms in patients who have recently returned from affected areas and to remind them of the established procedures for infection control and testing.

UK helps ‘keep Ukraine stable’ with crucial energy support [INSIGHT] 
Rishi Sunak urged to ‘immediately’ scrap heat pump payment scheme [REPORT] 
Skull of ancient beast washes up on UK beach in ‘exciting’ discovery [REVEAL] 

Dr Meera Chand, UKHSA Director of Clinical and Emerging Infection, said: “UKHSA constantly monitors emerging infection threats in collaboration with partners across the world. We are aware of an outbreak of Ebola cases in Uganda and are monitoring the situation closely. The risk to the public in the UK is very low.”

If the current case being investigated gets confirmed, it could be the first case of the new Sudan strain of the virus in the UK and the first recorded case since 2014. There is also no known vaccine for this strain of the virus. 

This is the strain responsible for the big Uganda outbreak, although Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni claimed over the weekend that the infection rate is slowing. However,  three cases with no known link to known patients have been identified in an area that is around 150 miles from the epicentre. This could be a sign that the virus is spreading undetected. 

Since the outbreak in Uganda has spread to t least seven districts, the WHO has “outlined a plan to accelerate research during the outbreak, to ensure access to investigational doses, and to facilitate scaling up and access to any subsequent licensed vaccine”.

It said in a statement: “Vaccination is usually one of the response interventions in such an outbreak, however, there are currently no licensed vaccines (or therapeutics) for Ebola disease caused by the Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV), though there are several candidate vaccines which appear to be suitable for evaluation in a clinical trial during this outbreak.”

Source: Read Full Article