Ebola risk remains low

December 8, 2014   //   No Comments

In its first monthly Ebola summary report, Public Health England (PHE) noted that it is continuing to work with government and NHS colleagues to ensure the UK remains alert to, and prepared for the risk of Ebola.  The overall risk of Ebola remains very low in the UK.

While the Chief Medical Officer has acknowledged the possibility we may see a ‘handful’ of cases in the UK, we are not expecting a major Ebola outbreak in this country.  If a case of Ebola is identified in the UK, there are well-developed and well-tested NHS systems for managing unusual infectious diseases, as demonstrated by the treatment of the British nurse repatriated in August 2014.

The British nurse remains the only positive case of Ebola in the UK, of the 113 tests undertaken in England to date.  General symptoms of Ebola include fever, aches, pains and sickness, and the majority of tests are undertaken as a precautionary measure to rule out Ebola and check for other viruses, including the more prevalent Malaria. Ebola screening ensures as many people as possible arriving directly from the infected countries are aware of the symptoms and know how to get access to healthcare services quickly.

As of midnight on Sunday 30 November 2014, 1301 people have been assessed at ports with enhanced screening operations in England.  Screening numbers will change with general travel patterns, such as increased travel around religious festivals or healthcare workers travelling as part of the international response to Ebola.  As with the testing figures, the number of people being screening for Ebola on entry to the UK does not reflect an increase in the risk of Ebola in the UK, but does reflect the robust monitoring and surveillance for the virus.