Ebola has already killed more than 600 people in West Africa. It has been transmitted to Nigeria, brought by air by a passenger who has now died. So what measures are the UK government taking to prevent it reaching Britain? Public Health England confirms that there are no additional measures at the UK borders at present. There is no additional monitoring and no screening of passengers when they arrive in the UK.
Dr Brian McCloskey, director of global health at Public Health England, said: “Public Health England is monitoring closely the continuing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the largest outbreak of this disease to date. It’s clear the outbreak is not under control. The World Health Organization, with a range of technical partners including UNICEF, Medicine Sans Frontiers, and Public Health England, is intensifying its support and providing technical advice, personnel and supplies to the affected countries to help prevent community and healthcare facility spread of the virus. PHE staff, working with the UK’s Department for International Development, continue on the ground in West Africa.
“The continuing increase in cases, especially in Sierra Leone, and the importation of a single case from Liberia to Nigeria is a cause for concern as it indicates the outbreak is not yet under control. We will continue to assess the situation and provide support as required.
“The risk to UK travellers and people working in these countries of contracting Ebola is very low but we have alerted UK medical practitioners about the situation in West Africa and requested they remain vigilant for unexplained illness in those who have visited the affected area.”
“People who have returned from affected areas who have a sudden onset of symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat and general malaise within three weeks of their return should immediately seek medical assistance – but it is important to stress that no cases of imported Ebola have ever been reported in the UK and the risk of a traveller going to West Africa and contracting Ebola remains very low since Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.”