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.
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.
See the Ebola outbreak mapped
See the Ebola outbreak mapped
1/7 25 March 2014
This outbreak of the Ebola virus first emerged in the Guéckédou region of Guinea, at a crossroads with both Liberia and Sierra Leone
2/7 31 March
On 31 March the WHO confirmed the outbreak was now international, spreading first into Liberia's northern-most Lofa region
3/7 27 May
The virus spread to Sierra Leone at the end of May - just as agencies were hoping the worst was over
4/7 27 July
In Sierra Leone the virus boomed, and then it spread to Nigeria when the Liberian diplomat Patrick Sawyer flew from Monrovia to Lagos
5/7 9 August
The Nigeria cases sparked fears around the world, and there have now been deaths in Spain and Saudi Arabia involving people who had travelled to West Africa. The numbers of cases continue to rise
6/7 17-20 September
In mid-September, Senegal confirmed its first case linked to the Ebola outbreak, a development the WHO described as a top priority emergency. Numbers of cases continued to grow exponentially in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, as experts warned they could number one million by January if not contained
7/7 8 October
Two cases of Ebola have now been reported in the US and Europe - the first times the virus has been contracted among health workers outside Africa
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.Reuse content