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Patient Tested For Ebola In Cornwall

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5:23am 31st December 2014
(Updated 5:23am 31st December 2014)

A patient is being tested for Ebola in Cornwall.

Treliske has confirmed that they were admitted to the hospital last night.

The patient is currently undergoing a series of tests - one of which is for the potentially deadly disease.

We will not get the results of that test back until later on Tuesday at the earliest and, until then, they are being kept in isolation.

But a spokesperson for Public Health England said they were not rated as a "high probability" case but were being checked as a precaution.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "A patient has been admitted to Royal Cornwall Hospital and is currently undergoing a series of tests - one of which is for Ebola.

"We do not expect the results to be known for at least 24 hours and in the meantime the patient is being looked after in isolation, following nationally agreed guidelines and protocols to protect the health of our staff and other patients.

"Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has been following national guidance around Ebola and made plans in line with advice from Public Health England and NHS England."

It is understood that the patient had recently arrived back from an area where there is a high risk of contracting the disease, although we do not know where.

They arrived in a private car last night - and were taken directly to the isolation unit.

Samples of their blood and urine are now being triple packed in secure containers by staff wearing protective clothing.

They will be taken to Porton Down, a lab near Salisbury which is undertaking all the UK's Ebola testing.

The results should be available within hours and, if they do come back positive, the patient will be transferred to one of five specialist hospitals in the UK.

The Ebola virus is not spread through ordinary social contact such as shaking hands or travelling on public transport.

Only people who have come into contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person are at risk.

Officials say the risk to public health is negligible.

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies said "a handful of cases" were expected in the coming months.

She added that Britain was "very well prepared" for Ebola.

Public Health England has tested 113 people for Ebola up to 4 December, only one of which was found to have the disease. Wales and Northern Ireland have had no positive cases.

Paul Cosford is from Public Health England.

He says the disease will find it hard to spread in a country like Britain.

He said: "You only catch it by contact with the body fluids of someone who is very ill with the disease, with diarrhoea, blood or vomit. That is the most important way that people can contract the disease."

Professor Ian Jones is a virologist, he said: "The virus when it infects an individual begins its replication cycle, all viruses want to make more of themselves, but it has a mechanism to hide under the immune system radar, and when the immune system eventually kicks in it does so in an over-active fashion."

Read seven things you need to know about Ebola here.

5:23am 31st December 2014

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