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Ebola in the UK: Britain likely to face more cases of deadly virus but is ‘well prepared’, says Chief Medical Officer

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The UK is likely to be faced with a handful of Ebola cases in the coming months, but the country is “well prepared”, the chief medical officer has urged.

Dame Sally Davies’ reassurances come after an NHS worker who volunteered in Sierra Leone became the first person to be diagnosed with the virus in the UK on Monday night.

More the 7,000 have people have died of the deadly virus following the start outbreak in late 2013 in Guinea.  The majority of the fatalities have been in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In October, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt introduced screening for the disease at some UK airports, as he told MPs that a number of Ebola cases were expected in the UK by Christmas.

But figures from Public Health England (PHE) show that 112 of the 113 tests on suspected Ebola sufferers were negative, up to 4 December.

The positive diagnosis of the nurse who had worked for a Save the Children-run hospital in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone, comes after British nurse William Pooley, 29, was cured of the virus at London’s Royal Free hospital. The new patient will be transported to the specialist facility as soon as possible, officials have said.

Unlike the female healthcare worker, Pooley was diagnosed in Africa before being flown to the UK for treatment. Having made a full recovery, he has returned to Sierra Leone to continue his work in battling the disease.

Dame Sally said: “The risk of the general public in this country catching Ebola remains very low. However, we still estimate that there could be a handful of cases in this country over the coming months.

“The NHS is very well prepared for Ebola and the requirement for screening at selected ports of entry is being kept continually under review.”

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