Scottish nurse who had recovered from Ebola was back to hospital again

A nurse infected by Ebola in 2014 has been to hospital for the 3rd time.

Pauline Cafferkey, a British nurse infected in 2014 had recovered from Ebola but afterwards, her life was threatened because the virus still persisted in her brain. Hence, she has been sent to the hospital for the 3rd time, according to a hospital in Scotland.


In December 2014, when Ebola swept 3 countries in West Africa, the epidemic reached its height. At that time Cafferkey was working at a treatment facility in Sierra Leone and then got contracted.

Pauline Cafferkey had been sent to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, the biggest city of Scotland, and was transferred to Royal Free Hospital in London after that.

According to the statement from London’s Royal Free Hospital, she was sent to that hospital because of the late complication from her infection by Ebola virus. The infectious diseases team of the hospital was in charge of treating her, of course under the guidelines which were agreed nationally.

In January 2015, Carferkey recovered from Ebola fever and came back home.

However, in October 2015, she fell ill again and it was found that the virus was still staying in her brain. Doctors, afterwards, said that she was the first one in the world to suffering from meningitis – a defect caused by Ebola virus.

Pauline Cafferkey later was treated by a drug called GS5734, which was an experimental antiviral drug developed by the U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences. Nevertheless, there was no confirmation from doctors whether that drug improved her situation or not. In November, Cafferkey was discharged from London’s Royal Free Hotel and was sent home.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), in rare circumstances, Ebola virus can persist in some part of our bodies, which do not have immune system, such as the brain, inside the eyes, the spinal cord and in semen.

Fadela Chaib – WHO spokeswoman indicated that Ebola patients are in need of “comprehensive support” in order to plummet the risk of further spread, especially through sexual transmission.

Scientists comments that many Ebola patients suffer from long-term effects; however, Cafferkey’s case is unusual.

Dr. Nathalie MacDermott, a clinical researcher at Imperial College London, said that for her previous situations were unprecedented, it was very hard to predict the possibilities of further relapses.

It is said that when the immune system are busy fighting with another infection, there is the likelihood that Ebola relapse may occur. That distraction of immune system may give the chance for any kind of virus to replicate.


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