Ebola virus: British doctor Nathalie MacDermott returns to work after three weeks in quarantine

Dr MacDermott was isolated after fellow volunteers Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol contracted Ebola

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The Independent Online

A British doctor who was quarantined for three weeks after treating Ebola patients in Africa has returned to work.

Dr Nathalie MacDermott, who works at the neonatal unit in Singleton Hospital in Swansea, flew to Liberia with Christian organisation Samaritan's Purse to help victims of the deadly virus.

While she was out there, two of her fellow volunteers, Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, from the US, contracted Ebola.

Dr MacDermott took over running of a specialist centre when the two were isolated after developing symptoms. Both are now recovering after being evacuated to the United States.

Although the 32-year was completely fine, on the advice from Public Health Wales, kept herself isolated from everyone for 21 days.

Of the 50-100 patients she treated during here time there, just three survived.

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Doctors are struggling to deal with the Ebola outbreak in Liberia

"It felt like we were sitting on a time bomb which was slowly exploding under us and there was nothing we could do," said Dr MacDermott.

"There is so much work to be done and if I could get leave I would definitely go out there and help again," she added. "They need healthcare staff to not only care for patients but help to contain the spread of infection."

Meanwhile, schools in Nigeria have been told to remain shut until October in a bid to halt the spread of Ebola.

Students were due to start the new school year on Monday but the education minister is keeping them closed so staff can be trained on how to deal with suspected cases.

The virus spread to Nigeria in July, killing five people. Over 1,400 people have died in affected areas across West Africa since the outbreak began.

On Wednesday, Air France announced it is suspending flights to Sierra Leone and the government is urging French people living there to leave the country as soon as possible.

Video: Ebola virus in Sierra Leone

Government officials in Sierra Leone confirmed today a third doctor had died from Ebola, as the World Health Organisation said it was sending a team to the area to investigate how an epidemiologist now undergoing treatment in Germany may have contracted the disease.

"The international surge of health workers is extremely important and if something happens, if health workers get infected and it scares off other international health workers from coming, we will be in dire straits," said Christy Feig, director of WHO communications in West Africa.

The WHO confirmed on Tuesday it is pulling its mobile team from the eastern Sierra Leonean city of Kailahun, where the epidemiologist working with the organisation was recently infected.

Daniel Kertesz, the organisation's representative in the country, said the team was exhausted and the added stress of a colleague getting sick could increase the risk of mistakes.

Additional reporting by agencies

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