Tuesday, 6 January 2015

U.K. Nurse With Ebola in Critical Condition

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By Peter Russell
WebMD Health News

Jan. 5, 2015 -- Pauline Cafferkey's battle with Ebola took a turn for the worse over the weekend. The 39-year-old nurse from Scotland is in critical condition, London's Royal Free Hospital said on Saturday. She's receiving treatment there in an isolation unit.

Cafferkey caught Ebola while working in Sierra Leone at the Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Center, which is managed by Save the Children, an international charity.

Save the Children says it's looking into how she got infected.

Experimental Treatment

Cafferkey was diagnosed with the disease after returning to Glasgow, Scotland, on Dec. 28. She was soon transferred to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital.

At first, she was sitting up in bed, talking, and reading, the hospital said. But that changed on Saturday, when they said her condition had worsened.

Cafferkey opted to have a treatment that uses the blood of Ebola survivors. She also chose to take an experimental antiviral drug.

Professor Peter Horby, from the Epidemic Diseases Research Group at the University of Oxford, says in a statement: " Even with advanced medical care Ebola remains an extremely serious disease.

"We desperately need a better understanding of the disease process and better, specific treatments.

"Pauline Cafferkey has reportedly received both an antiviral drug and convalescent plasma, but we do not know if these treatments are effective, useless, or perhaps even harmful. This underlines the urgent need to properly evaluate experimental therapies for Ebola, including convalescent plasma, so we know what works and what does not."

Shortly before she was hospitalized, Cafferkey flew from West Africa back to Glasgow via Morocco and London. During a stopover at London’s Heathrow Airport she told officials she might be getting a fever. But seven tests recorded her temperature as normal and she was allowed to resume her journey home.

She fell ill the following day and was admitted to the Brownlee Unit for Infectious Diseases at Gartnavel Hospital. On Dec. 30, she was transferred to the high-level isolation unit in the Royal Free Hospital.

Last year British volunteer nurse William Pooley was successfully treated at the same unit after catching Ebola while also working in Sierra Leone.

source : U.K. Nurse With Ebola in Critical Condition

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