Authorities in Scotland have confirmed an Ebola case involving an aid worker who recently returned from Sierra Leone, officials said Monday. Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon identified the new case as the first-ever instance of Ebola to be diagnosed within the United Kingdom, according to the Associated Press.
“Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa, and I am confident that we are well-prepared,” Sturgeon said in a statement. “We have the robust procedures in place to identify cases rapidly. Our health service also has the expertise and facilities to ensure that confirmed Ebola cases such as this are contained and isolated, effectively minimizing any potential spread of the disease.”
The infected aid worker arrived in Glasgow Sunday night after a short flight from London Heathrow Airport. The individual felt sick, checked into a Glasgow hospital and was placed in isolation Monday morning. The patient is currently receiving treatment at Gartnavel Hospital’s Brownlee Center for Infectious and Communicable Diseases, but will ultimately be transferred to a “high-level isolation unit” at Royal Free Hospital in London.
Sources familiar with the situation said the Ebola patient was female, the BBC reports. The patient’s name has yet to be made public.
The Ebola case was identified early and poses a “negligible” risk to the public, Sturgeon added. Only one other person is suspected to have come into contact with the patient since she arrived in Glasgow. Officials are investigating other points of potential contact, however, and individuals who shared the flight from Heathrow to Glasgow were encouraged to contact authorities through a special hotline.
British nurse William Pooley was diagnosed with Ebola in August after treating patients for the disease in Sierra Leone. Pooley, 29, was flown back to Royal Free Hospital, where he made a full recovery. He returned to Sierra Leone to continue his aid efforts in October, according to the BBC.
There have been nearly 20,000 confirmed or suspected Ebola cases worldwide since the outbreak began in December 2013, the majority of which occurred in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization. More than 9,000 Ebola cases were confirmed in Sierra Leone alone, while neighboring Liberia has experienced more than 7,800 cases. Nearly 8,000 people have died from Ebola worldwide.