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British Nurse Who Survived Ebola Hospitalized a Third Time

  • VOA News

FILE - British nurse Pauline Cafferkey, shown in a January interview, has suffered a relapse of Ebola, which she contracted last year in Sierra Leone. She’s being treated in a London hospital, where doctors say her condition is improving.

FILE - British nurse Pauline Cafferkey, shown in a January interview, has suffered a relapse of Ebola, which she contracted last year in Sierra Leone. She’s being treated in a London hospital, where doctors say her condition is improving.

A British nurse who was twice treated successfully for Ebola was again hospitalized Tuesday, according to health officials.

Pauline Cafferkey, who volunteered in 2014 to treat Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, was initially admitted to Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, according to a statement.

Cafferkey, however, was being transferred to London's Royal Free Hospital, Britain's only isolation ward for the deadly disease, the London medical center said. She had been treated before at that facility.

She was transferred "due to a late complication from her previous infection by the Ebola virus," the hospital said.

Previous treatment

Cafferkey was diagnosed with Ebola in December 2014 after returning to Scotland from the west African nation. She recovered from Ebola hemorrhagic fever and was sent home in January 2015; however, she fell ill again in October and doctors found the virus was persisting in tissues in her brain.

Later, doctors said she had developed meningitis caused by Ebola -- the first known case.

Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, told The Guardian Tuesday it was the first case he knew of where Ebola had been associated with life-threatening complications so many months after an initial recovery.

More complex than thought

Dr. Derek Gatherer, a biomedical and life sciences lecturer at Lancaster University, also told The Guardian it was clear Ebola was a more complex disease than previously thought, with the most serious complication for survivors being meningitis.

TheEbola outbreak — the deadliest since the virus was identified in 1976 — has killed 11,316 of the 28,639 people infected since December of 2013, according to the latest World Health Organization figures.

The Ebola virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.

Nearly all the victims have been in the three west African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The WHO declared Guinea free of Ebola in December 2015; Liberia was declared free of the virus in January.

It also declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free in January, only to announce days later that Ebola was detected in the corpse of a 21-year-old woman who died January 12. Sierra Leone is again going through a six-week countdown period to be declared Ebola-free.

Material for this report came from AFP and Reuters.

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