Ebola virus: Person in Wales being monitored following possible exposure to disease

The person is not showing any symptoms, according the Welsh authorities

Kashmira Gander@kashmiragander
Tuesday 05 August 2014 15:53

An individual in Cardiff is being monitored by health officials in Wales, following possible exposure to the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

Public Health Wales confirmed on its website on Tuesday that the person is voluntarily limiting their contact with others and is not going to work.

While the person is not ill or showing any symptoms of the disease, he or she will stay at home for the duration of Ebola's 21-day incubation period.

An outbreak of the deadly virus has so far killed 887 people across Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. More than 1,600 cases have been reported in the region.

There are currently no known cases of Ebola in Wales, or the UK as a whole.

“We are alert to the possibility of Ebola cases in the UK given the outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea and we remain vigilant to unexplained illness in people who have travelled from the area,” the health authority explained.

It added that processes are in place to protect members of the public in the event that a person is exposed to Ebola.

A spokeswoman from Public Health England told The Independent that the person is not in hospital. But if they developed symptoms - most likely a high fever at first - they be put in quarantine at their local hospital where they would be tested for the disease.

A positive test result would see them transferred to a specialist hospital in London and put into isolation.

The spokeswoman could not confirm where the person had travelled from, or whether they were a health worker or tourist. She added that GPs in Wales and England have been told to ask patients with seemingly harmless flu-like symptoms whether they have travelled to affected areas as a precaution.

Last week, experts from Public Health England met with representatives of the UK Border Agency and individual airports to ensure staff members can identify the symptoms of the disease. They were also briefed on what to do if they suspect a passenger is infected, Dr Brian McCloskey, director of global health at PHE, told The Independent.

“This is easily the biggest Ebola outbreak we have ever seen,” Dr McCloskey warned. “And it is clearly not yet under control.”

The meeting came amid concern that Patrick Sawyer, who died of the disease after likely contracting it from his now late sister, was allowed to board a number of international flights in Africa, despite displaying signs of the disease.

Mr Sawyer had been vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea when he flew from Liberia, had a stopover in Ghana, changed planes in Togo and then died in Nigeria.

Doctors around the world, including in the UK, have been urged to look out for patients exhibiting the early symptoms of the virus, which include fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain and lack of appetite.

Later symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, a rash and both internal and external bleeding – often from the eyes, nose or mouth.

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