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Sunday 21st September 2014
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First Briton With Ebola Virus Lands In UK

Sunday, 24th August 2014 21:00

A British man who caught the ebola virus in Sierra Leone has arrived in the UK on a Royal Air Force jet.

The healthcare worker, understood to be called William, landed at RAF Northolt near Heathrow just before 9pm on board a specially equipped C17 plane.

An ambulance transporting the man to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in north London travelled there under a police escort to stop other vehicles from interrupting the journey.

The hospital is home to the UK's only high-level isolation unit which has a specially-designed tent with controlled ventilation.

The only people allowed inside are specially-trained medical staff.

Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England, said protective measures will be in place to avoid the virus being transmitted to staff transporting the patient and healthcare workers in the UK.

The man, who the Department of Health has said is not "seriously unwell", is understood to have been a volunteer at a clinic in the Kenema district of Sierra Leone.

Sky sources who have knowledge of the repatriation describe the young male nurse, who is estimated to be in his late 20s or early 30s, as a "remarkable and amazing young man".

There have so far been 2,615 confirmed cases and 1,427 deaths in the outbreak.

Health chiefs insist the risk to the British public from ebola, which kills up to 90% of those who get it, is "very low".

Deputy chief medical officer Professor John Watson said: "We have robust, well-developed and well-tested NHS systems for managing unusual infectious diseases when they arise, supported by a wide range of experts.

"UK hospitals have a proven record of dealing with imported infectious diseases and this patient will be isolated and will receive the best care possible."

Ebola is contracted through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids and there is currently no cure or vaccine.

Strict quarantine measures are used to stop the spread of the virus, as well as high standards of hygiene for anyone who might come into contact with sufferers.

Symptoms of the virus appear as a sudden onset of fever, headache, sore throat, intense weakness and muscle pain.