The ‘Ebola nurse’ from Britain, Pauline Cafferkey, is said to be in a critical condition at hospital after complications arising from her Ebola infection were found.
Cafferkey was admitted to the Royal Free Hospital in London, who say her condition has ‘deteriorated’ after it was believed that she had made a full recovery from the Ebola virus last year.
BBC News reports:
Ms Cafferkey, 39, from Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire, contracted Ebola while working at a treatment centre in Sierra Leone last year.
She spent almost a month in isolation at the Royal Free at the beginning of the year after the virus was detected when she arrived back in the UK.
She was later discharged after apparently making a full recovery, but it was discovered last week that Ebola was still present in her body.
Bodily tissues can harbour the Ebola infection months after the person appears to have fully recovered.
A statement released by the hospital on Tuesday said: “We are sad to announce that Pauline Cafferkey’s condition has deteriorated and she is now critically ill.
“She is being treated for Ebola in the high level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital.”
Dr Ben Neuman, a virologist at the University of Reading, told the BBC that the medical team treating Ms Cafferkey was in “completely uncharted territory”.
He added: “It may be that the virus has gotten into a place where the immune system can’t root it out, and that what we are seeing right now is essentially a frustrated immune system overreacting and basically hurting some of the other organs.
“We don’t know what Ebola looks like the second time around or after a big relapse like this. Right now, she has had this virus about three times as long as the other previous record holder.
“It is bad news, but it is not hopeless news. As long as she is still there, and as long as she is still fighting, there is a chance.
“And there is a chance that some of the new medicines that we have got against Ebola may be able to help a little bit.”