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EBOLA NURSE IS FIGHTING MENINGITIS; Medics hail 'significant improvement'.

Byline: david taylor david.taylor@dailyrecord.co.uk

EBOLA nurse Pauline Cafferkey has been suffering from meningitis, doctors revealed yesterday.

But since being readmitted to hospital last week, there has been a "significant improvement" in her health.

The nurse, 39, has received an experimental anti-viral treatment at the high-level isolation unit in London's Royal Free Hospital.

She spent a month there earlier this year after contracting the virus while a volunteer at an Ebola clinic in Sierra Leone.

She made a full recovery but the killer disease was still hiding in her body and medics said it caused her meningitis.

Tests showed Ebola was still in her system after she fell ill at home in Cambuslang, near Glasgow.

Royal Free infectious diseases consultant Dr Michael Jacobs said: "The last few days, Pauline has made a significant improvement. She is inside the isolation unit but she's talking freely with the staff, using the iPad, beginning to eat a little.

"I think she has a long recovery ahead of her and will be with us for quite a while still."

He said it was an "unprecedented" situation and Pauline had a "completely different" type of Ebola than had been seen by staff before.

Pauline was flown from Glasgow in a military aircraft in the early hours of October 9. She had become unwell earlier in the week and was treated at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow before being transferred.

Pauline has been treated with the anti-viral drug GS5734, which is early in its development.

Jacobs said: "This is a highly experimental treatment. We don't know if it's of benefit to her.

"We're very hopeful that Pauline will slowly make a full recovery, that's very much in our sights. The question is, can we be sure that we can completely clear the virus? "Over time, we anticipate the virus will be completely eradicated.

"Whether the anti-viral drug will contribute to that or not, it's hard to know at this stage."

It is thought Pauline was initially infected because she wore a visor rather than goggles, which did not fit.

Since her relapse, 65 of the nurse's close contacts have been identified, with 40 offered vaccinations as a precaution.

A Health Protection Scotland spokesman said: "The statement from the Royal Free this afternoon is very welcome news.

"It is clear that there is some learning still to be done with regard to Ebola, and Health Protection Scotland will work with national and international partners to play whatever part we can in that work.

"Our assessment that the risk to the public remains extremely low has not changed."

CAPTION(S):

RECOVERING Pauline is winning fight with Ebola. Picture: PA

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 22, 2015
Words:446
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