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British Ebola Nurse Released From Isolation

(AFP) – A British nurse who suffered a relapse after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone has been released from isolation after being treated for meningitis caused by the virus, her hospital said.

Pauline Cafferkey, 39, had been kept in isolation at London’s Royal Free Hospital since October 9 and became “critically ill” shortly afterwards.

But she is no longer infectious and has been now transferred to a hospital in the city of Glasgow in Scotland, where she is from.

“We are delighted that Pauline has made a full recovery from Ebola and is now well enough to return to Scotland. We would like to wish her well for the future,” a spokeswoman for the Royal Free Hospital said in a statement.

Cafferkey initially contracted Ebola while working as a nurse at a treatment centre in Kerry Town in Sierra Leone run by charity Save the Children.

She was diagnosed with the disease in December last year on her return to Glasgow and spent almost a month in isolation in the Royal Free Hospital, which has Britain’s only isolation ward for the lethal disease, before being released in January.

But in October she was re-admitted to hospital, suffering from rare late complications due to the virus.

Royal Free infectious diseases consultant Michael Jacobs explained at the time that the original Ebola virus had been inside her brain replicating at a low level, and had re-emerged to cause meningitis.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” Jacobs said.

Forty people in contact with her were offered vaccinations following her relapse, while Cafferkey was treated with experimental drug GS5734 while in isolation.

Upon her release from hospital Wednesday, Cafferkey thanked the staff of the hospital for their “amazing care”.

“For a second time, staff across many departments of the hospital have worked incredibly hard to help me recover and I will always be grateful to them and the NHS,” or National Health Service, Cafferkey said.

“I am looking forward to returning to Scotland and to seeing my family and friends again.”

The 2013 Ebola outbreak in west Africa infected some 28,000 people and left 11,300 dead, the virus’ highest toll since its identification in central Africa in 1976.

(Read more about the ebola nurse from AFP here)

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