An unidentified British soldier is being flown home from Sierra Leone this morning, after contracting the virus while deployed with the British Army response to the outbreak in the former colony.
The soldier, who remains unidentified by authorities but is a female medic, has become the third British health worker to be diagnosed with the virus so far. British nurses Pauline Cafferkey and William Pooley both contracted Ebola while rendering aid in the West African nation, but were themselves nursed back to health after being flown back to the United Kingdom.
Like Cafferkey and Pooley, the army medic will be taken to the Royal Free Hospital in north London, the capital’s specialist equipped facility for treating Ebola patients.
The Guardian reports the remarks of a Public Health England (PHE) spokesman who said: “We can confirm that a UK military healthcare worker in Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola. Medical experts are currently assessing the situation to ensure that appropriate care is delivered.
“An investigation into how the military worker was exposed to the virus is currently under way and tracing of individuals in recent contact with the diagnosed worker is being undertaken.
“Any individuals identified as having had close contact will be assessed and a clinical decision made regarding bringing them to the UK.”
The nurse was one of seven hundred British troops deployed alongside volunteer aid workers and NHS staff on secondment to Sierra Leone, the small former British colony whose fragile peace that survived since the 1991 civil war was threatened by the Ebola outbreak. The British government deployed the forward casualty receiving ship RFA ARGUS to the nation’s capital and principal port, Freetown, last year to assist the humanitarian effort and to act as a forward operating base for the deployed troops.