A UK military healthcare worker in Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola, according to officials.
The unidentified woman was working at the Ebola Treatment Center in Kerry Town, which was built with Government funding and is managed by Save the Children. She is currently being treated at the same location according to a Ministry of Defense spokesperson.
Authorities are trying to establish how she was exposed to the virus and tracing individuals in recent contact with the diagnosed worker according to Public Health England. It is the first case of a British military worker contracting the virus.
Public Health England said that medical experts were making sure appropriate care was being delivered. A decision on whether she will be evacuated to the UK for treatment has not yet been made.
The Ministry of Defense said between 600 and 700 of their personnel were currently working in Sierra Leone in connection with the Ebola crisis.
“Any individuals identified as having had close contact will be assessed and a clinical decision made regarding bringing them to the UK,”
said the spokesperson for Public Health England.
“The UK has robust, well-developed and well-tested systems for managing Ebola and the overall risk to the public in the UK continues to be very low,” the spokesperson said.
This is the third British citizen to test positive for Ebola – a viral illness which causes vomiting, diarrhea and internal bleeding – since the outbreak began in West Africa.
A second member of the British military healthcare team has also bee tested for Ebola, but their first test is believed to have come back negative. Several other British citizens suspected of having the virus may be flown back to the UK along with the infected person.
Two other British citizens, nurses Will Pooley and Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted the disease while working with Ebola patients in west Africa, were both successfully treated at the Royal Free hospital in London.
Since an outbreak began in March last year, more than 9,800 people have died of Ebola, mainly in west Africa. More than 100 health-care workers have been exposed to the virus while caring for Ebola patients according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).