UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies has said that the UK should expect a “handful” of Ebola cases in the next few months.
The risk of catching Ebola in the UK is still very low, we also have a world-class health system here so if a case did appear here, we are ready to respond.
Remember, Ebola can only be transmitted by direct contact with an infected person, for example;
- Blood contamination
- Body fluid contamination (sweat, saliva, poo, wee or sick)
- Touching organs (lungs, heart, liver)
- Unprotected sex (no condom)
- Caring for an infected person, touching them or touching medical equipment that has not been sterilised (doctors and nurses are at higher risk)
Currently, Ebola virus mainly affects three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. On the 10th October, statistics from The World Health Organisation revealed there have been over 4,000 confirmed or suspected deaths related to Ebola in these countries.
The Government has announced that London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports (and soon Manchester and Birmingham airports) and Eurostar terminals, will all screen people arriving in this country from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea for the virus. The screening will include Border Force officers identifying passengers deemed at risk and trained medical staff from Public Health England carrying out medical assessments.
The whole screening includes assessing passengers’ recent travel history, who they have been in contact with and onward travel arrangements, taking passengers’ temperature, completing a risk questionnaire and recording their contact details.
Advice will be given to passengers on what to do if they develop symptoms later. If anyone is suspected to have Ebola, they will be taken to hospital. If passengers have a high risk of developing Ebola because of their previous contact with an Ebola patient, although they may not showing symptoms, will be regularly contacted by Public Health England.
If you experience symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding (bear in mind they can be similar or confused with flu, malaria, typhoid fever, stomach bugs) and had contact with a person who has Ebola; please call NHS 111. Do not go to A&E or a GP as there is a risk of spreading Ebola.
If you have these symptoms and had no contact with an Ebola patient, please call NHS 111, or visit a GP or A&E if necessary.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has announced that NHS non-emergency 111 phone line advisors will try to identify possible Ebola in some people who call. People who report possible symptoms such as respiratory problems, vomiting, fever, headache, diarrhoea or bleeding will be asked about their travel history and be referred to local emergency services if needed.
All information listed above can be found from the following websites. Please go to these for latest updates:
Public Health England
World Health Organisation