British nurse with Ebola arrives in London

A shows a nurse wearing protective clothing as he demonstrates the facilities in place at the Royal Free Hospital in north London, ahead of the Ebola patient's arrival. File photo / AP
A shows a nurse wearing protective clothing as he demonstrates the facilities in place at the Royal Free Hospital in north London, ahead of the Ebola patient's arrival. File photo / AP

A British nurse who contracted the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone has arrived in London by military plane.

The patient, who is not "seriously unwell" according to the Department of Health, is to be treated at an isolation unit at a London hospital.

A spokesman for Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health, Yahya Tunis, said the man was a volunteer nurse working in Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone, one of the areas hardest hit by Ebola which has now been quarantined.

"His colleagues are very sad over the development as he is considered as a valued member," Tunis said, adding that he was involved in "surveillance, contact tracing and the burial of Ebola victims".

The Briton is the first person from the country to have contracted the virus in an outbreak that has killed at least 1427 people in West Africa since March.

The Department of Health said the victim was evacuated in a specially equipped C17 Royal Air Force military plane to RAF Northolt outside London.

The victim was to be taken in a special military ambulance to Britain's only specialist Ebola isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

England's deputy chief medical officer Professor John Watson insisted that the risk of the virus being spread in Britain remained "very low".

"UK hospitals have a proven record of dealing with imported infectious diseases and this patient will be isolated and will receive the best care possible," he added.

Ebola spreads through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.

The Ebola epidemic has spread through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, while Nigeria has also been affected. It is the worst-ever outbreak of the killer virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned it could take several months to bring the epidemic under control.

- AFP

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