Pauline Cafferkey

London hospital may host second Ebola patient

Ebola patient Pauline Cafferkey’s condition has deteriorated just as she seemed to be recovering. An unnamed patient displaying symptoms is currently being tested.

Pauline Cafferkey

Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey was diagnosed with the Ebola virus on 29 December after returning to Glasgow from Sierra Leone where she had been volunteering.

Cafferkey is currently being treated at the Royal Free Hospital in North London with an experimental antiviral drug as well as plasma from another health worker who recovered from the disease. She cannot be given the drug ZMapp, which was used to treat recovered nurse William Pooley, as there is none available in the world, doctors told The Telegraph.

On 31 December the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust stated that she was sitting up in bed in her quarantine tent, talking, reading and chatting to her family through an intercom system. On 3 January the hospital announced that her condition had “gradually deteriorated over the past two days and is now critical”.

A senior microbiologist told The Telegraph that it is difficult to judge her chances of survival because the new drugs were experimental and not enough is known about how to counter the virus.

Using the blood from a recovered Ebola patient to treat Cafferkey is the best chance for her recovery, Prof High Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Arberdeen told The Telegraph.

Meanwhile, an unnamed patient in South Gloucestershire has displayed signs of the Ebola virus after returning from West Africa.

Hospital officials have confirmed that she was rushed to a hospital in Swindon after showing symptoms of the virus. The suspected patient will undergo a series of tests for a variety of things. She will be transferred to London where Cafferkey is being treated if it is a confirmed Ebola case, a spokesman for the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told The Telegraph.

A patient in Truro and a woman in Aberdeen were both suspected to have contracted the virus in December after returning from West Africa. They both tested negative for the disease.