Ebola: UK should expect 'a handful of cases' within coming months

UK's Chief Medical Officer says airport screening will save lives

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The Independent Online

Britain's Chief Medical Officer has warned the UK should expect a “handful” of Ebola cases within the next few months.

Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical advisor to the UK government, said any cases of Ebola in the UK would be a "spill over" from West Africa.

Defending her advice to introduce airport screening at some UK airports, Dame Sally admitted that it was a “blunt instrument” but insisted it would save lives.

She rejected criticism from a senior consultant who described screening as a "political gesture" in a leaked email, the BBC reports.

Airport screening is being introduced for passengers travelling from the affected regions - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea - to give the UK an additional level of protection from the deadly virus.

Her remarks came on Saturday, shortly after medics across the UK took part in eight hour drills to test the UK’s readiness for Ebola should an outbreak occur.

Staff from North East Ambulance Service and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, north east England taking part in a national exercise to test Britain's readiness for an Ebola outbreak.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted the drills have shown the Government and emergency services were ready if the disease reached the UK after an exercise to test how the authorities would respond.

The national simulation saw actors in different situations mimic symptoms of the deadly virus.

In one case a person who collapsed in Gateshead shopping centre was placed in isolation at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle after being assessed.

More than 4,000 people have died after contracting Ebola, with the majority of cases occurring in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Last week, a nurse in Spain became the first known person to contract Ebola while in Europe and 16 people are under observation at a Madrid hospital.