Hospital chief’s fears over UK Ebola dangers

Senior Matron Breda Athan demonstrates the use of a high level isolation apparatus in the High Secur

Senior Matron Breda Athan demonstrates the use of a high level isolation apparatus in the High Secure Infectious Disease Unit at The Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London. - Credit: PA

1976 – The deadly Ebola virus was first found in east Africa in the 1970s.

March 2014 – A new strain of the disease is discovered in west Africa and officials in Guinea report that 59 people have died and two cases are reported in Liberia.

May 2014 – Ebola is confirmed to have reached Sierra Leone.

August 2014 – The World Health Organisation (WHO) declares Ebola an international health emergency and gives its backing to the use of experimental drugs to treat the virus. William Pooley, a volunteer nurse from Suffolk, is flown back to the UK for emergency treatment after contracting Ebola while helping treat patients in Sierra Leone. He goes on to make a full recovery. A doctor in Nigeria dies of Ebola. The health ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo informs the WHO of an outbreak of Ebola which is later confirmed to be a different strain to the one affecting west Africa.

September 2014 – America announces plans to send 3,000 troops to west Africa to build Ebola treatment centres and establish a military coordination centre. Thomas Duncan becomes the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in America.

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October 2014 – A Spanish nurse becomes the first person to contract the virus outside west Africa. The UK announces that it will introduce temperature screening for passengers arriving at Gatwick and Heathrow airports from west Africa. WHO announces that the fatality rate from Ebola has reached 70pc. Some 650 NHS frontline staff and 130 Public Health England volunteer to go out to Sierra Leone.

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