Pauline Cafferkey, the 39 year-old British aid worker who fell ill with the Ebola virus in Glasgow shortly after her return from Sierra Leone in December 2014, was declared `free of the virus’ and released from the hospital on January 24th of 2015.
Last October the medical world was surprised to see Cafferkey Back In Isolation After A Relapse, 9 months after her recovery. Her condition deteriorated, and we eventually learned she was suffering from meningitis, due to persistent low-level replication of the Ebola virus in her brain.
Roughly a month later, she was discharged from the Royal Free Hospital in London and returned to her home in Scotland. Today, British media informs us she was re-hospitalized yesterday in Glasgow, and was flown to London today.
This statement From the Royal Free Hospital, after which I'll have a bit more.
23 February 2016
We can confirm that Pauline Cafferkey is being transferred to the Royal Free Hospital due to a late complication from her previous infection by the Ebola virus. She will now be treated by the hospital's infectious diseases team under nationally agreed guidelines.
The Ebola virus can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person while they are symptomatic so the risk to the general public remains low and the NHS has well established and practised infection control procedures in place.
Although Pauline Cafferkey is the best known and most studied case of Post-Ebola illness, there are anecdotal reports that as many as half of the survivors reportedly suffer from joint pain, inflammatory eye conditions,fatigue, headache, and mental health problems.
Last August, in CIDRAP & Mackay On Ebola Infection’s Sequelae, we looked at the ongoing investigations into this little understood phenomenon.
One of the many discoveries coming out of the West African Ebola epidemic was finding that some convalescent patients can carry, and shed, the Ebola virus long after their symptoms are resolved.
Last October, in WHO: Study Shows Ebola Virus Fragments May Be Detectable In Semen For > 9 Months and ECDC On Ebola Persistence & Rapid Risk Assessment) we looked at the evidence, and the rationale for WHO's Interim advice on the sexual transmission of the Ebola virus disease.
Forty years after it was first discovered, the Ebola virus continues to surprise.