FREETOWN/LONDON (Reuters) – A British medical worker was flown home from West Africa on Sunday after becoming the first Briton infected in an Ebola epidemic, and a separate new outbreak of the disease was detected in Democratic Republic of Congo.
A specially adapted Royal Air Force cargo plane picked up the male healthcare worker in Sierra Leone on Sunday after British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond authorised his repatriation for treatment.
The Department of Health said the patient – whose identity has not been disclosed – was “not currently seriously unwell”. The man will be transported to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The hemorrhagic fever has killed at least 1,427 people, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and neighbouring Guinea, the deadliest outbreak of the disease to date. The disease also has a toehold in Nigeria, where it has killed five people.
In Democratic Republic of Congo, Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said an Ebola outbreak had been confirmed in the remote northern Equateur province – 1,200 km (750 miles) from the capital Kinshasa – but it was a different strain of the virus from the West African one.
There have been six outbreaks of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo since the disease was discovered there in 1976, with a total of more than 760 deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that more than 225 health workers have fallen ill and nearly 130 have lost their lives to Ebola since the West African outbreak was detected in the jungles of southeast Guinea in March.
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