First case of Ebola diagnosed on British soil

The first case of Ebola to be diagnosed on British soil was announced on Monday night after a health worker in Glasgow was confirmed to have contracted the virus.

The patient is 39-year-old nurse Pauline Cafferkey who had just returned from Sierra Leone after a spell treating the victims of the potentially fatal disease.

She is now receiving specialist treatment at the Royal Free Hospital in north London.

Mrs Cafferkey, who volunteered to work for Save the Children at the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone, will be offered blood plasma donated by patients who have survived the disease. It is hoped that natural antibodies in the blood will help her fight the virus.

She returned to Scotland on Sunday night via Casablanca and Heathrow, arriving into Glasgow Airport on a British Airways flight.

She was screened both in Sierra Leone and Heathrow, but at that stage was not displaying any symptoms.

All but seven of the 70 passengers who shared Mrs Cafferkey’s flight from London to Glasgow have now been contacted, she added. Five of the eight people who sat nearest the nurse on the plane have been reached, with messages left for the other three.

She is the second Briton to be diagnosed with the virus after the nurse William Pooley fell sick in Sierra Leone and was flown back to the UK. Two other Britons were being tested for the virus on Tuesday morning.

Ebola is transmitted through contact with infected people’s bodily fluids, including sweat, blood and vomit. Some people are infected by contact with a victim or cleaning up after them, but the virus can survive for several days outside the body on soiled clothing and anything a patient has touched.

Professor Peter Piot, one of the scientists who helped discover the Ebola, told the Times (£) he would be happy to sit next to someone with the virus on the tube.

I wouldn’t be worried to sit next to someone with Ebola virus on the Tube as long as they don’t vomit on you or something. This is an infection that requires very close contact.

This Facebook comment purportedly from a nurse working in Glasgow has also been spreading on social network.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, meanwhile, has said "the risk to other people as a result of this Ebola case is deemed to be extremely low".

More: Why it's not time to panic about Ebola in Britain