A woman with links to west Africa is being tested for Ebola at a south London hospital, it has been confirmed. The woman, who developed a fever, arrived on Sunday morning at St George’s hospital in Tooting, where she is being closely monitored.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said: “A patient who came in last night with symptoms – a fever – and links to west Africa, is being tested for Ebola.”
A Public Health England (PHE) spokesman said it was unlikely that the patient had contracted Ebola but that precautionary steps were being taken.
He said: “PHE can confirm it will undertake precautionary tests relating to a patient presently at St George’s hospital in Tooting, who has a history of travel to west Africa.
“Ebola is considered unlikely but testing is being done as a precaution, as is our usual practice in these circumstances. We are confident that all appropriate actions are being taken to protect the public’s health.
“It is important to remember that as yet, there has not been a case of Ebola diagnosed in the UK and the infection can only be transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids – such as blood, vomit or faeces – of an infected person.
“We have advised all front line medical practitioners and NHS call handlers to be alert to signs and symptoms of Ebola in those returning from affected areas and following such advice we would expect to see an increase in testing.”
He said PHE would not confirm how many people have been tested for the virus in the UK since the outbreak in west Africa.
William Pooley became the first confirmed Briton to contract Ebola and was flown back to the UK in August, where he was treated at the Royal Free hospital in London.
The 29-year-old has returned to Sierra Leone where he caught the infection to begin his second spell treating people infected by the deadly virus.